Is Berle and Means Really a Myth?

58 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2009 Last revised: 19 Oct 2010

Brian R. Cheffins

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Steven A. Bank

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 3, 2009

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Cheffins, Brian R. and Bank, Steven A., Is Berle and Means Really a Myth? (March 3, 2009). UCLA School of Law, Law-Econ Research Paper No. 09-05; ECGI - Law Working Paper No. 121/2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1352605 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1352605

Brian R. Cheffins

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom
+44 1223 330084 (Phone)
+44 1223 330055 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Steven A. Bank (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
310-794-7601 (Phone)

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,351
Rank
9,235
Abstract Views
5,295