NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Vikas Mehrotra

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Working Papers and Chapters

March 2011Adoptive Expectations: Rising Sons in Japanese Family Firms
with Randall Morck, Jungwook Shim, Yupana Wiwattanakantang: w16874
The practice of adopting adults, even if one has biological children, makes Japanese family firms unusually competitive. Our nearly population-wide panel of postwar listed nonfinancial firms shows inherited family firms more important in postwar Japan than generally realized, and also performing well – an unusual finding for a developed economy. Adopted heirs’ firms outperform blood heirs’ firms, and match or nearly match founder-run listed firms. Both adopted and blood heirs’ firms outperform non-family firms. Using family structure variables as instruments, we find adopted heirs “causing” elevated performance. These findings are consistent with adult adoptees displacing blood heirs in the left tail of the talent distribution, with the “adopted son” job motivating star managers, and with ...
September 2010Must Love Kill the Family Firm?
with Randall Morck, Jungwook Shim, Yupana Wiwattanakantang: w16340
Family firms depend on a succession of capable heirs to stay afloat. If talent and IQ are inherited, this problem is mitigated. If, however, progeny talent and IQ display mean reversion (or worse), family firms are eventually doomed. This is the essence of the critique of family firms in Burkart, Panunzi and Shleifer (2003). Since family firms persist, solutions to this succession problem must exist. We submit that marriage can transfuse outside talent and reinvigorate family firms. This implies that changes to the institution of marriage – notably, a decline in arranged marriages in favor of marriages for “love” – bode ill for the survival of family firms. Consistent with this, the predominance of family firms correlates strongly across countries with plausible proxies for arranged...
April 2005When Labor Has a Voice in Corporate Governance
with Olubunmi Faleye, Randall Morck: w11254
Equity ownership gives labor both a fractional stake in the firm's residual cash flows and a voice in corporate governance. Relative to other firms, labor-controlled publicly-traded firms deviate more from value maximization, invest less in long-term assets, take fewer risks, grow more slowly, create fewer new jobs, and exhibit lower labor and total factor productivity. We therefore propose that labor uses its corporate governance voice to maximize the combined value of its contractual and residual claims, and that this often pushes corporate policies away from, rather than towards, shareholder value maximization.

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