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Corporate governance cycles during transition - A comparison of Russia and Slovenia

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Ownership is determined by firm specific factors and the environment. Firms change over their life-cycle. The governance cycle – here defined as changes in identity of the dominant owner and own-ership concentration - is marked by key phases including start-up, growth, and possibly a restructur-ing or exit stage. During transition the cycle reflects: privatization often with a high proportion of employee ownership like in Russia and in Slovenia; strong pressures for restructuring and owner-ship changes; limited possibility for external finance because of embryonic development of the fi-nancial system. To provide simple hypothesis tests, we use Russian enterprise data for 1995-2003 and Slovenian data covering 1998-2003. In spite of differences in institutional development, con-cerning privatization and development of corporate governance institutions, we find that govern-ance cycles are broadly similar in the two countries. Employee ownership is rapidly fading, but while change to manager and non-financial domestic outsider ownership is typical for Russia, man-ager ownership is not widespread in Slovenia. Instead change to financial outsiders in the form of Privatization Investment Funds is frequent. Foreign ownership, which is rare especially in Russia, is quite stable. The ownership diversification to employees and diversified external owners during privatization did not fit well to the low development of institutions. As expected we observe in both countries a subsequent concentration of ownership on managers, external domestic and foreign owners. JEL-codes: G3, J5, P2, P3 - Keywords: corporate governance, life-cycle, privatization, ownership change, transition economies, Russia and Slovenia.

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Niels Mygind, Natalia Demina, Aleksandra Gregoric, Rostislav Kapelyushnikov

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