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The Characteristics and Performance of Family Firms: Exploiting information on ownership, governance and kinship using total population data
Statistics Sweden, Örebro, Sweden. (Företagandet och företagandets villkor)
Örebro University, Orebro University School of Business, Örebro University, Sweden. (Företagandet och företagandets villkor)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5610-8526
Örebro University, Orebro University School of Business, Örebro University, Sweden. (Företagandet och företagandets villkor)
Örebro University, Orebro University School of Business, Örebro University, Sweden. Ratio. (Internationell ekonomi)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0149-9598
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Family firms are often thought of as characteristically different from non-family firms, and the economic implications of these differences have caused significant academic debate. However, our understanding of family firms is suffering from not being able to identify them in total population data; this requires information on owners, their kinship and involvement in firm governance, which is rarely available. We present a method for identifying domestic family firms using register data which grants greater accuracy compared to previous methods. We then apply it to data from Statistics Sweden concerning firm ownership, governance and kinship over the years 2004-2010. Next, we estimate their economic contribution to total employment and gross domestic product (GDP) and compare them to privately held, domestic non-family firms in terms of their characteristics and economic performance. We find that the family firm is the prevalent organizational form, contributing to over one third of all employment and GDP. We furthermore find that the characteristics of family firms differs across sizes and legal forms; indicating that confinement to specific market segments may bias family business research. We find that family firms are common across industries and sizes (except when crowded out by government); ranging from the smallest producers to the largest multinational firms. We furthermore find that they are smaller in employment and sales, even within size groups, and that they carry higher solidity, yet they are more profitable–although these differences diminish with firm size. We conclude that the term ‘family firm’ contains great diversity and call for increased attention to their heterogeneity.

Keyword [en]
family firms; employment; GDP; register data
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-57684OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-57684DiVA: diva2:1096070
Projects
Familjeföretagandets betydelse
Funder
The Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation
Available from: 2017-05-16 Created: 2017-05-16 Last updated: 2017-05-17Bibliographically approved

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The Characteristics and Performance of Family Firms

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Andersson, FredrikJohansson, DanKarlsson, JohanLodefalk, MagnusPoldahl, Andreas
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Orebro University School of Business, Örebro University, Sweden
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
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More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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