Insider ownership and corporate performance: evidence from Germany
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In this paper we address the question whether insider ownership affects corporate performance. Evidence from studies dealing with Anglo-Saxon countries is rather inconclusive, especially because results seem to be significantly affected by endogeneity. Economically, this is due to the fact that in these countries insider ownership seems to be mainly driven by management’s compensation contracts. We argue that Germany is different in this regard, as insider ownership is often related to family control, stock-based compensation is less widespread, and the market for corporate control used to be less developed. Starting from this presumption, our data allows an unbiased observation as to whether insider ownership affects firm performance. Using a pooled data set of 648 firm observations for the years 2003 and 1998, we find evidence for a positive and significant relationship between corporate performance—as measured by stock price performance, market-to-book ratio and return on assets—and insider ownership. This relationship seems to be rather robust, even if we account for potential endogeneity by applying a 2SLS regression approach. Furthermore, the results hold for a sub-sample of firms that did not have a stock-based compensation program in place. Moreover, we find outside block ownership as well as more concentrated insider ownership to have a positive impact on corporate performance. Overall, the results indicate that ownership structure might be an important variable explaining the long term value creation in the corporate sector.