More than Meets the Eye: Reassessing the Empirical Evidence on US Dual-Class Stock
37 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2020 Last revised: 2 Sep 2020
Date Written: March 14, 2020
Dual-class stock enables a company’s controller to retain voting control of a corporation while holding a disproportionately lower level of the corporation’s cash-flow rights. Dual-class stock has led a tortured life in the US. Between institutional investor derision and the exclusion or restriction of dual-class stock from certain indices, one may assume that dual-class structure must be harmful to outside stockholders. However, in this article, the existing empirical evidence on US dual-class stock will be reassessed by contrasting studies that use different measures of performance. It will be shown that although dual-class firms are generally valued less than similar one-share, one-vote firms, they perform as well as, and, in many cases, outperform, such firms from the perspective of operating performance and stock returns. When it comes to dual-class stock, more than meets the eye, and a presumption that dual-class stock is harmful for outside stockholders should not guide policy formulation.
Keywords: Dual-Class Stock, One Share One Vote, Empirical Evidence, Long-Termism, Big Tech
JEL Classification: G30, G32, G34, G38, K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation