Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Effect of the Adoption of an Alternative Corporate Governance System on Firms’ Performances. The Case of Italian Unlisted SMEs.

Bellavite Pellegrini, Carlo and Sergi, Bruno and Sironi, Emiliano (2015): The Effect of the Adoption of an Alternative Corporate Governance System on Firms’ Performances. The Case of Italian Unlisted SMEs. Published in: Journal of Management Development , Vol. 35, No. 4 (17 February 2016): pp. 517-529.

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Purpose – Alternative corporate governance systems (CGSs) have attracted a significant bulk of research recently. While the connection between the adoption of an alternative system (one tier board or two tier board system) and firms’ performances has not been fully analysed yet, the purpose of this paper is to analyse whether companies which have turned into an alternative board system have eventually improved their performance over time. Design/methodology/approach – Using a sample of more than 15,000 Italian unlisted joint stock companies, the authors compare performance outcomes in 2009 of firms adopting alternative systems with performances of firms that maintained the system in force before the 2003 Corporate Law Reform (defined as “traditional”). Because of the choice of an alternative system (one tier or two tier board) instead of a traditional one is not random, the authors reduce selection bias implementing matching methods and comparing firms that are close in terms of propensity score measured in 2003 (the year before the new CGSs have been introduced by a corporate law reform). Findings – The authors do not find evidence of a significant improvement of performances in 2009 concerning those firms that have adopted a one tier or two tier board systems with respect to those which maintained a traditional one. Originality/value – The novelty of the study concerns the application of propensity score matching for the evaluation of the impact of the change of the CGS that is possible in presence of two conditions that are all verified in our setting: first, to have a country where corporate law allows for choosing among different systems; in this case Italy is a good laboratory, because it allows for the choice among three different systems; and second, to have the opportunity to evaluate the effect of the change in light of a relatively recent “pre-treatment” condition; this is made possible by the fact that before the 2003 Reform of corporate law all the companies had a traditional system.

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