One Half-Billion Shareholders and Counting-Determinants of Individual Share Ownership Around the World
45 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2009 Last revised: 1 Dec 2009
Date Written: December 1, 2009
This study presents the first comprehensive compilation of the number of people around the world owning shares voluntarily. We document that at least 317 million people in 70 countries (24 developed and 46 emerging market nations) invest in equity of publically listed companies or mutual funds. Accounting for contributors of voluntarily pension schemes investing in equity increases the number of shareholders to over 544 million. We also test for determinants of personal shareholdings and find that (i) the legal origin matters (common law countries have statistically significantly higher percentage of population investing in equity), (ii) GDP per capita also matters but its significance is driven by emerging markets (in particular those opened before 1985), and (iii) privatisation does not contribute to higher levels of shareholder participation in the medium- and long-run.
Keywords: Government policy and regulation, Capital and ownership structure, Property rights, Legal origin, International finance, Emerging markets
JEL Classification: G18, G32, P14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation