Bank of Israel
Jerusalem 91907, Israel
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|December 2013||The Great Pyramids of America: A Revised History of US Business Groups, Corporate Ownership and Regulation, 1930-1950|
with Eugene Kandel, Randall Morck, Yishay Yafeh: w19691
Most listed firms are freestanding in the U.S, while listed firms in other countries often belong to business groups: lasting structures in which listed firms control other listed firms. Hand-collected historical data illuminate how the present ownership structure of the United States arose: (1) Until the mid-20th century, US corporate ownership was unexceptional: large pyramidal groups dominated many industries; (2) About half of these resembled groups elsewhere today in being industrially diversified and family controlled; but the others were tightly focused and had widely held apex firms; (3) US business groups disappeared gradually, primarily in the 1940s, and by 1950 were largely gone; Their demise took place against growing concerns that they posed a threat to competition and even to...