Is Berle and Means Really a Myth?
58 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2009 Last revised: 19 Oct 2010
Date Written: March 3, 2009
Berle and Means famously declared in 1932 that a separation of ownership and control was a hallmark of large U.S. corporations and their characterization of matters quickly became received wisdom. A series of recent papers (Hannah, 2007; Santos and Rumble, 2006, Holderness, forthcoming) has called the Berle-Means orthodoxy into question. This paper surveys the relevant historical literature on point, acknowledging in so doing that the pattern of ownership and control in U.S. public companies has been anything but monolithic but saying a separation between ownership and control remains an appropriate reference point for analysis of U.S. corporate governance.
Keywords: Berle-Means, ownership, control of U.S. public companies
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