Shareholder Protection and the World (Leximetric II)

Mathias M. Siems 

This article analyzes how shareholder protection has developed in twenty countries from 1995 to 2005. In contrast to traditional legal research, it draws on a quantitative methodology to law (called leximetrics or numerical comparative law). This methodology reveals that in most countries shareholder protection has improved in the last years; that developed countries perform better than developing countries in protecting shareholders; that shareholder protection in common law countries is relatively similar, whereas no comparable similarity is found within the German and French civil law families; that German corporate law is “more mainstream” and U.S. corporate law is “more eccentric” than the law of the other countries; and that, in general, there has been convergence in the last decade. In order to explain these results, the distinction between origin and transplant countries can be useful. However, in contrast to previous studies, this does not mean that all depends on the distinction between English, French, and German origin and transplant countries. Rather it is decisive (1) which “version” of the corporate law the transplant country copied, (2) whether transplant countries continue to take developments in the origin countries into account, and (3) whether transplant countries have left the path of their (former) origin countries.