Myth of Diffuse Ownership in the United States

47 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2007


This paper offers evidence on the ownership concentration at a representative sample of U.S. public firms. 96% of these firms have blockholders; these blockholders in aggregate own an average 39% of the common stock. The ownership of U.S. firms is similar to and by some measures more concentrated than the ownership of firms in other countries. These findings challenge current thinking on a number of issues, ranging from the nature of the agency conflict in domestic corporations to the relationship between ownership concentration and legal protections for investors around the world.

Keywords: Ownership Concentration, Blockholders

JEL Classification: G32, G34

Suggested Citation

Holderness, Clifford G., Myth of Diffuse Ownership in the United States. Review of Financial Studies, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Clifford G. Holderness (Contact Author)

Boston College - Department of Finance ( email )

Carroll School of Management
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3808
United States
617-552-2768 (Phone)
617-277-8071 (Fax)

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