The concentration of ownership of enterprises varies significantly among countries. In this paper we investigate the role that differences in legal systems among nations play in molding founders’ preferences with respect to the ownership structure of their start-ups. We develop an economic framework which articulates the impact that the quality of protection offered to shareholders and debt holders has on the supply of debt and equity financing and the incentives of the founders to recruit partners or opt for sole ownership. The theoretical analysis predicts that a positive relationship is likely to exist between the quality of the legal system and the ownership concentration of start-ups. This prediction is in contrast to the findings on relationships in large publicly traded firms. Using data obtained from the Adult Population Survey of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor project from 2001 to 2004 about ownership preference patterns, we confirm the prediction.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 20, 2009
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