Un salariat faible pour un marché des valeurs fort

Les économies de marché se différencient fondamentalement les unes des autres par la surveillance plus ou moins étroite qu'exercent les propriétaires des grandes entreprises sur leur gestion au quotidien. Pourquoi ceux-ci confient-ils délibérément le contrôle de leur entreprise à des dirigeants professionnels ? Cette question se pose maintenant avec de plus en plus d'acuité, alors que les pays riches et beaucoup de pays en transition ou en développement essayent de créer un marché des valeurs solide pour stimuler l'investissement, la productivité et la croissance.

Le clivage net entre la propriété et la direction des entreprises et l'existence d'un marché des valeurs efficace se renforcent l'un l'autre. La théorie sous-jacente est claire : si les patrons peuvent voler, les actions ne se vendront pas. Les systèmes de droit civil formalistes qui prévalent en Europe continentale ne fourniraient pas une protection adéquate, aussi l'actionnariat reste-t-il concentré. Par opposition, la common law des pays anglo-saxons permet aux juges d'interpréter plus librement la réglementation fiduciaire au cas par cas, créant ainsi une jurisprudence à valeur contraignante pour les dirigeants.

Mais cette explication n'est pas satisfaisante. Avant la Première Guerre mondiale, les pays européens de droit civil ont créé un marché des valeurs aussi rapidement que les USA et la Grande-Bretagne. Les agences de contrôle comme la SEC américaine (Securities and Exchange Commission) ont été établies parce que les obligations fiduciaires des dirigeants dans les pays de common law ne permettaient pas de protéger les propriétaires éloignés de l'entreprise.

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