Abstract: Multiple Voting Shares in France during the Interwar Period

Muriel Petit-Konczyk

Abstract

At the end of the 1920s many French firms listed in the Paris Stock Exchange issued multiple voting shares (MVS), breaking dramatically the rule of one share, one vote with a number of voting rights going from five to twenty and even more. The paper analyzes the problem of this power concentration successively from two points of view. The first point is an approach by the economic costs in which we measure whether the performances of firms issuing MVS are weaker during the years following the issue than those of a sample of firms not issuing MVS. The second point is an approach based on the conceptual framework of management and institutional theory, in which we analyze the trigger and dissemination of this controversial MVS wave clustered from 1927 to 1929. Our study uses both quantitative data with a exhaustive series of monthly stock exchange returns and qualitative data coming from archives of some firms having issued multiple voting shares during the interwar period.