The Characteristics of Family Firms: Exploiting Information on Ownership, Kinship, and Governance Using Total Population Data

Andersson, Fredrik, Johansson, Dan, Karlsson, Johan, Lodefalk, Magnus and Poldahl, Andreas (2018). The Characteristics of Family Firms: Exploiting Information on Ownership, Kinship and Governance Using Total Population Data. Small Business Economics, 51(3): 539–556.

18 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2021

See all articles by Fredrik Andersson

Fredrik Andersson

Statistics Sweden

Dan Johansson

Örebro University School of Business

Johan Karlsson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Magnus Lodefalk

Örebro University

Andreas Poldahl

Statistics Sweden

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

Family firms are often considered characteristically different from non-family firms. However, our understanding of family firms suffers from an inability to identify them in total population data; information is rarely available regarding owners, their kinship and their involvement in firm governance. We present a method for identifying domiciled family firms using register data; this method offers greater accuracy than previous methods. We apply this method to Swedish data concerning firm ownership, governance and kinship from 2004 to 2010. We find that the family firm is a significant organizational form, contributing over one-third of all employment and gross domestic product (GDP). Family firms are common in most industries and range in size. Furthermore, we find that, compared to private non-family firms, family firms have fewer total assets, employment and sales and carry higher solidity, although family firms are more profitable. These differences diminish with firm size. We conclude that the term “family firm” includes a large variety of firms, and we call for increased attention to their heterogeneity.

Keywords: Entrepreneur, Family Firms, Employment, GDP, Register Data

JEL Classification: D22, G38, H32, L22, L25, L26, L53

Suggested Citation

Andersson, Fredrik and Johansson, Dan and Karlsson, Johan and Lodefalk, Magnus and Poldahl, Andreas, The Characteristics of Family Firms: Exploiting Information on Ownership, Kinship, and Governance Using Total Population Data (2018). Andersson, Fredrik, Johansson, Dan, Karlsson, Johan, Lodefalk, Magnus and Poldahl, Andreas (2018). The Characteristics of Family Firms: Exploiting Information on Ownership, Kinship and Governance Using Total Population Data. Small Business Economics, 51(3): 539–556., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3820683

Fredrik Andersson

Statistics Sweden ( email )

Karlavägen 100
Stockholm
Sweden

Dan Johansson (Contact Author)

Örebro University School of Business ( email )

School of Business
Örebro, SE-70182
Sweden

Johan Karlsson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Magnus Lodefalk

Örebro University ( email )

Örebro, SE-701 82
Sweden

Andreas Poldahl

Statistics Sweden ( email )

Karlavägen 100
Stockholm
Sweden

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