Acheson, Graeme G. Campbell, Gareth Turner, John D. Vanteeva, Nadia
Year of Publication:
eabh Papers No. 14-02
Using ownership and control data for 890 firm-years, this paper examines the concentration of capital and voting rights in British companies in the second half of the nineteenth century. We find that both capital and voting rights were diffuse by modern-day standards. This implies that ownership was separated from control in the UK much earlier than previously thought, and given that it occurred in an era with weak shareholder protection law, it undermines the influential law and finance hypothesis. We also find that diffuse ownership is correlated with large boards, a London head office, non-linear voting rights, and shares traded on multiple markets.
corporate ownership and control law and finance hypothesis shareholder protection law British financial history