Corporate Mobility in the European Union – A Flash in the Pan? An Empirical Study on the Success of Lawmaking and Regulatory Competition

41 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2013 Last revised: 9 May 2014

See all articles by Wolf-Georg Ringe

Wolf-Georg Ringe

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics; University of Oxford - Faculty of Law; Stanford University; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: April 9, 2013


This paper discusses new data on regulatory competition in European company law and the impact of national law reforms, using the example of English company law forms being used by German start-ups. Since 1999, entrepreneurs in the EU have been allowed to select foreign legal forms to govern their affairs. The data show that English limited companies were very popular with German entrepreneurs in the first few years of the last decade but have experienced a sharp decline since early 2006. This decline casts doubt over the claim that the German company law reform from November 2008 ‘successfully fought off’ the use of foreign company forms. Moreover, by contrasting the German data with the corresponding developments in Austria, the paper further demonstrates that the latter jurisdiction is also seeing a similar decline, and without having reformed its company law. Instead of exclusively seeing law reform responsible for the declining number of foreign incorporations, this paper offers a number of alternative or complementary explanations for the striking developments. These findings are important for our understanding of (defensive) regulatory competition and successful lawmaking.

Keywords: regulatory competition, company law, Centros, minimum capital

JEL Classification: F15, G34, G38, H73, K22, L22

Suggested Citation

Ringe, Wolf-Georg, Corporate Mobility in the European Union – A Flash in the Pan? An Empirical Study on the Success of Lawmaking and Regulatory Competition (April 9, 2013). European Company and Financial Law Review 2013, Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 34/2013, University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2013-19, Available at SSRN: or

Wolf-Georg Ringe (Contact Author)

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University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

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