The Eurozone crisis and Italian corporate governance : the end of blockholding?
Title: The Eurozone crisis and Italian corporate governance : the end of blockholding?
Author: BULFONE, Fabio
Citation: Modern Italy, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 365-378
ISSN: 1353-2944; 1469-9877
This article explains the process of change in domestic corporate governance. An actor-centred coalitional approach is applied to the Italian case to show how the main features of domestic corporate governance are a product of behavioural patterns (i.e. informal institutions), rather than formal legislation. Leveraging their superior financial means, business elites act as institutional incumbents shaping these informal institutions according to their preferences. It is argued that a change in corporate practices is more likely to be triggered by a socio-economic crisis, which weakens the domestic elite’s influence, rather than a legal reform. These findings call into question the excessively formalistic approach of many corporate governance scholars, and are confirmed by the Italian trajectory. After having resisted 20 years of liberalising legal reforms aimed at eroding their power, Italian blockholders are now being forced, as a consequence of the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, to dismantle their cross-shareholding networks.
Published online: 5 October 2015
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