Shareholder Protection: A Leximetric Approach

University of Cambridge, CBR Working Paper No 324

35 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2006 Last revised: 30 Jan 2014

See all articles by Priya Lele

Priya Lele

Ashurst LLP; University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research (CBR)

Mathias Siems

European University Institute (EUI); University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)


In this paper we build a new and meaningful shareholder protection index for five countries and code the development of the law for over three decades. Attributing and comparing legal differences by numbers is contrary to the traditional way of doing comparative law and the use of a quantitative methodology to account for variations across legal systems has been subjected to some searching criticisms. However, we believe that with a cautious approach, it has the potential to open new vistas of research in the area of comparative law and as such should not be shunned. This paper provides an illustration of the interesting possibilities that diligent quantification of legal rules (leximetrics) provides for comparing variations across time series and across legal systems. For instance, our leximetric study finds, that in all of our panel countries shareholder protection has been improving in the last three decades; that the protection of minority against majority shareholders is considerably stronger in blockholder countries and that convergence in shareholder protection is taking place since 1993 and is increasing since 2001. Finally, our examination of the legal differences between the five countries does not confirm the distinction between common law and civil law countries.

This paper is part of a wider research project. The related papers can be downloaded at,, and

Keywords: Shareholder protection, leximetrics, numerical comparative law, law and finance, La Porta et al., LLSV, coding, comparative company law, comparative corporate law, comparative corporate governance, legal origins, legal development, convergence

JEL Classification: G0, G30, K0, K22, N20, N40, P50

Suggested Citation

Lele, Priya P. and Siems, Mathias, Shareholder Protection: A Leximetric Approach. University of Cambridge, CBR Working Paper No 324, Available at SSRN:

Priya P. Lele

Ashurst LLP ( email )

Broadwalk House
5 Appold Street
London, EC2A 2HA
Great Britain

University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research (CBR) ( email )

Judge Business School Building - Top Floor
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1AG
United Kingdom
01223 765325 (Phone)

Mathias Siems (Contact Author)

European University Institute (EUI) ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
Firenze, 50139


University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research ( email )

Top Floor, Judge Business School Building
Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom


European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

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


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