Agency Conflicts, Ownership Concentration, and Legal Shareholder Protection

Posted: 1 Mar 2006

See all articles by Mike Burkart

Mike Burkart

Swedish House of Finance; London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Fausto Panunzi

Bocconi University - Department of Economics; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the interaction between legal shareholder protection, managerial incentives, monitoring, and ownership concentration. Legal protection affects the expropriation of shareholders and the blockholder's incentives to monitor. Because monitoring weakens managerial incentives, both effects jointly determine the relationship between legal protection and ownership concentration. When legal protection facilitates monitoring better laws strengthen the monitoring incentives, and ownership concentration and legal protection are inversely related. By contrast, when legal protection and monitoring are substitutes better laws weaken the monitoring incentives, and the relationship between legal protection and ownership concentration is non monotonic. This holds irrespective of whether or not the large shareholder can reap private benefits. Moreover, better legal protection may exacerbate rather than alleviate the conflict of interest between large and small shareholders.

Keywords: Ownership concentration, legal protection, agency conflicts

JEL Classification: G34

Suggested Citation

Burkart, Mike C. and Panunzi, Fausto, Agency Conflicts, Ownership Concentration, and Legal Shareholder Protection. Journal of Financial Intermediation, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 1-31, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=884400

Mike C. Burkart (Contact Author)

Swedish House of Finance ( email )

Drottninggatan 98
111 60 Stockholm
Sweden

London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Finance ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cepr.org/default_static.htm

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Fausto Panunzi

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
20136 Milan
Italy
+39 02 5836 5327 (Phone)
+39 02 5836 5343 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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