August 2004

Corporate Governance and the Shareholder Base

Karl V. Lins; Francis E. Warnock


This paper uses a sample of 4,410 firms from 29 countries to investigate the relation between corporate governance and the shareholder base. In contrast to previous work, our results strongly support the notion that poor corporate governance, at both the firm and country level, negatively impacts the willingness of foreign investors to hold a firm's equity. Specifically, we find that firms whose managers have sufficiently high control rights that they may reasonably be expected to expropriate minority equity investors attract significantly less U.S. investment, especially in countries with poor external governance. Our findings suggest that the prices U.S. investors are asked to pay for firms with poor governance are not low enough to fully compensate them for expected expropriation or increased estimation risk associated with expected poor disclosure by these firms. Because prior research shows that a smaller shareholder base is associated with a lower firm value, our results are consistent with the notion that the shareholder base represents an important channel through which poor expected corporate governance contributes to a reduction in firm value.

Full paper (screen reader version)

Keywords: Corporate governance, ownership structure, shareholder base, portfolio holdings

PDF: Full Paper

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Last Update: January 11, 2021