Is Berle and Means Really a Myth?

32 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2009

See all articles by Brian R. Cheffins

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: October 20, 2009


Adolf Berle and Gardiner 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 has called the Berle-Means orthodoxy into question. This survey of the relevant historical literature acknowledges that the pattern of ownership and control in U.S. public companies is not monolithic. Nevertheless, a separation between ownership and control remains an appropriate reference point for analysis of U.S. corporate governance.

Keywords: Adolf Berle, Gardiner Means, coporate governance, ownership and control

JEL Classification: G3

Suggested Citation

Cheffins, Brian R. and Bank, Steven A., Is Berle and Means Really a Myth? (October 20, 2009). Business History Review, Vol. 83, No. 3, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Brian R. Cheffins (Contact Author)

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)

B-1050 Brussels

Steven A. Bank

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)

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics

Under construction: SSRN citations while be offline until July when we will launch a brand new and improved citations service, check here for more details.

For more information