For a Few Dollars Less: Explaining State to State Variation in Limited Liability Company Popularity
20 U. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 1 (2011)
50 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2011 Last revised: 28 Jun 2012
Date Written: July 4, 2011
The limited liability company (LLC) is a much more popular business entity in some U.S. states than in others. This empirical study provides the first detailed analysis of this phenomenon, using a partly original set of cross-sectional state-level data.
I find that formation fees, rather than taxes or substantive rules or anything else, explain the variation in LLC popularity best. Differentials between the fees for organizing an LLC and the fees for organizing a corporation explain 17% to 28% of the state-tostate variation in LLC popularity. These formation fee differentials are not very big, but they are highly visible at the moment the business entity is formed. In contrast, the data show no relationship between LLC popularity and differentials in annual fees and state entity-level taxes. I find only weak evidence that the popularity of the LLC is associated with different substantive rules contained in state LLC statutes. However, LLCs are more popular in those states whose LLC statutes expressly uphold the principle of contractual freedom and thus reassure LLC members that courts will not rewrite their contract in the event of a lawsuit. Finally, I found no evidence that LLC popularity is related to different levels of uniformity of LLC statutes, the age of LLC statutes, and other factors.
Keywords: Limited liability company, LLC, closely held firm, business entities, business filings, empirical legal studies, United States
JEL Classification: K12, K22, H71, H73
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation