One Half-Billion Shareholders and Counting - Determinants of Individual Share Ownership Around the World
45 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2009
Date Written: August 18, 2009
This study presents the first comprehensive compilation of the number of people around the world who own shares directly and indirectly. We document that at least 310 million people in 59 countries (24 developed and 35 emerging market nations) own stock directly [Table 1]. Nearly 173 million of these investors live in countries with developed stock markets and the remaining 137 million reside in countries with emerging stock markets. We also document that at least 503 million individuals in 64 countries own stock indirectly through pension fund holdings [Table 2]. Additionally, we describe the evolution of shareholdings in several key countries. We present preliminary regression analyses of the determinants of personal shareholdings, and plan to expand these tests dramatically over the next several months. Clearly direct shareholdings increase with national income and are higher in common law than civil law countries, but the presence of privatization programs has surprisingly little observable impact.
Keywords: government policy and regulation, capital and ownership structure, property rights
JEL Classification: G18, G32, P14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation