Patterns of Corporate Ownership: Insights from a Unique Data Set

Nordic Journal of Political Economy 27, 2001, 55-86

45 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2013

See all articles by Øyvind Bøhren

Øyvind Bøhren

BI Norwegian Business School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Bernt Arne Ødegaard

University of Stavanger

Date Written: Febraury 7, 2001


Using a data base which is exceptionally rich and accurate by international standards, this paper quantifies a wide range of ownership structure characteristics for all Oslo Stock Exchange firms in the period 1989-1997. Overall, we find that their ownership structures differ remarkably from those of other European firms. We speculate that a social-democratic rule and strong legal protection of stockholder rights may explain why the personal investment in Norwegian listed firms is so limited (low direct ownership), why the largest owner is so small (low concentration), and why the other major owners are so large (flat power structure). Our findings raise two questions about the viability of corporate governance systems in general. The first is whether delegated monitoring carried out by state bureaucrats and corporate managers is an effective disciplining mechanism. The second question is whether low ownership concentration produces strong managers and weak owners or whether the flat power structure facilitates joint monitoring by owners who are individually weak, but collectively strong.

Keywords: Equity Ownership Structure, Norwegian Equity Market, Ownership Concentration

JEL Classification: G3, K22, L22

Suggested Citation

Bøhren, Øyvind and Ødegaard, Bernt Arne, Patterns of Corporate Ownership: Insights from a Unique Data Set (Febraury 7, 2001). Nordic Journal of Political Economy 27, 2001, 55-86, Available at SSRN:

Øyvind Bøhren (Contact Author)

BI Norwegian Business School ( email )

Nydalsveien 37
Oslo, 0442
46410503 (Phone)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels

Bernt Arne Ødegaard

University of Stavanger ( email )

UiS Business School
Stavanger, NO-4036


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