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Abstract

We present a model of succession in a firm owned and managed by its founder. The founder decides between hiring a professional manager or leaving management to his heir, as well as on what fraction of the company to float on the stock exchange. We assume that a professional is a better manager than the heir, and describe how the founder's decision is shaped by the legal environment. This theory of separation of ownership from management includes the Anglo-Saxon and the Continental European patterns of corporate governance as special cases, and generates additional empirical predictions consistent with cross-country evidence.