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Economic Implications of Changing Share Ownership

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  • Benjamin M. Friedman

Abstract

Institutional investors, including especially pension funds and mutual funds, are steadily replacing individuals as owners of equity shares in the United States. Forty years ago individual investors owned 90% of all equity shares outstanding. Today the individually owned share is just 50%. The arguments and evidence surveyed in this paper suggest four ways in which this shift in share ownership could affect the functioning of the equity market: (1) Increasing institutional ownership could either enhance or impair the market's ability to provide equity financing for emerging growth companies. (2) Increasing institutional ownership, especially in the form of open-end mutual funds, has probably increased the market's volatility in the context of occasional large price movements. (3) The increasing prevalence of defined contribution (as opposed to defined benefit) pension plans, and especially of 401-k plans, has probably resulted in an increased market price of risk. (4) Increasing institutional ownership has facilitated a greater role for shareholders in the governance of U.S. corporate business, and correspondingly reduced the independence of corporate managements.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin M. Friedman, 1995. "Economic Implications of Changing Share Ownership," NBER Working Papers 5141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5141
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul A. Gompers & Andrew Metrick, 2001. "Institutional Investors and Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 229-259.
    2. Cespa, Giovanni, 2002. "Short-term investment and equilibrium multiplicity," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1645-1670, October.
    3. Bajgrowicz, Pierre & Scaillet, Olivier, 2012. "Technical trading revisited: False discoveries, persistence tests, and transaction costs," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 473-491.
    4. Dominique Dupont, 1998. "Equilibrium price with institutional investors and with naive traders," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-23, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Arnswald, Torsten, 2001. "Investment Behaviour of German Equity Fund Managers - An Exploratory Analysis of Survey Data," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2001,08, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    6. Steiger, Max, 1998. "Institutionelle Investoren und Corporate Governance: Eine empirische Analyse," ZEW Dokumentationen 98-05, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    7. Wahal, Sunil & McConnell, John J., 2000. "Do institutional investors exacerbate managerial myopia?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 307-329, September.
    8. Ameer, Rashid, 2010. "The role of institutional investors in the inventory and cash management practices of firms in Asia," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(2-3), pages 126-143, July.
    9. Rydqvist, Kristian & Spizman, Joshua & Strebulaev, Ilya, 2014. "Government policy and ownership of equity securities," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 70-85.
    10. Carlos F. Alves & João Vaz Nunes & Ana Paula Serra, 2014. "Analysis of European Equity Funds Preferences for Stock Characteristics," FEP Working Papers 533, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.

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    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets

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