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From Cronies to Professionals: The Evolution of Family Firms


  • Bhattacharya, Utpal
  • Ravikumar, B


We develop a dynamic model where each generation in a family firm can continue operating its inherited production technology or it could hire a professional to do the same. Though the professional is more qualified, his interests are not aligned with the interests of the family. In the context of an overlapping generations framework, we analyze how this tradeoff affects the evolution of the family firm. We find that family firms initially grow in size by accumulating capital and later professionalize their management after reaching a critical size.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhattacharya, Utpal & Ravikumar, B, 1997. "From Cronies to Professionals: The Evolution of Family Firms," MPRA Paper 22939, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jan 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:22939

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mike Burkart & Fausto Panunzi & Andrei Shleifer, 2003. "Family Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(5), pages 2167-2202, October.
    2. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    3. Ross, Stephen A, 1973. "The Economic Theory of Agency: The Principal's Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 134-139, May.
    4. Bhattacharya, Utpal & Ravikumar, B, 2001. "Capital Markets and the Evolution of Family Businesses," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74(2), pages 187-219, April.
    5. Heckerman, Donald G., 1975. "Motivating managers to make investment decisions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 273-292, September.
    6. Pollak, Robert A, 1985. "A Transaction Cost Approach to Families and Households," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 581-608, June.
    7. Marvin Berhold, 1971. "A Theory of Linear Profit-Sharing Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(3), pages 460-482.
    8. repec:hrv:faseco:30747196 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Caselli & Nicola Gennaioli, 2013. "Dynastic Management," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 971-996, January.
    2. Morten Bennedsen & Kasper Nielsen & Francisco Pérez-González & Daniel Wolfenzon, 2005. "Inside the Family Firm: The Role of Families in Succession Decisions and Performance," CIE Discussion Papers 2005-13, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics, revised Sep 2005.
    3. Bennedsen, Morten & Nielsen, Kasper & Pérez-González, Francisco & Wolfenzon, Daniel, 2005. "Inside the Family Firm," Working Papers 21-2005, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
    4. Pinheiro, Roberto & Yung, Chris, 2015. "CEOs in family firms: Does junior know what he's doing?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 345-361.
    5. Maury, Benjamin, 2006. "Family ownership and firm performance: Empirical evidence from Western European corporations," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 321-341, January.
    6. Jang, Hasung & Kang, Hyung-cheol & Park, Kyung Suh, 2005. "Determinants of Family Ownership: The Choice between Control and Performance," CEI Working Paper Series 2005-5, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    7. Giannetti, Mariassunta, 2011. "Serial CEO incentives and the structure of managerial contracts," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 633-662, October.
    8. Jellal, Mohamed, 2009. "Family Capitalism Corporate Governance Theory," MPRA Paper 17886, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Family firms; Cronies; Moral Hazard;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law


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