Sindicatos débiles, mercados de valores fuertes

Una distinción fundamental entre las economías de mercado es el grado en el que la propiedad de las firmas de gran tamaño se separa de la administración del día a día. ¿Qué hace que los propietarios de una compañía entreguen voluntariamente el control a administradores profesionales? Esta pregunta es cada vez más urgente, a medida que los países ricos (así como varias economías en desarrollo y transición) intentan crear los sólidos mercados de valores que se necesitan para aumentar la inversión, la productividad y el crecimiento.

La separación entre propiedad y administración y la existencia de mercados de valores eficaces se refuerzan mutuamente. La teoría subyacente es clara: si los jefes pueden robar, los propietarios distantes no comprarán acciones. Los sistemas formalistas de derecho civil que prevalecen en Europa continental supuestamente proporcionan una protección inadecuada, de modo que la propiedad sigue concentrada. En contraste, los sistemas anglosajones de derecho consuetudinario facultan a los jueces para que interpreten las reglas fiduciarias abiertas caso por caso, estableciendo de este modo precedentes legales que son vinculantes para los administradores.

Pero esta es una explicación poco convincente. Antes de la Primera Guerra Mundial, los países con leyes civiles de Europa se encontraban desarrollando mercados de valores tan rápidamente como los EE.UU. y el Reino Unido. De hecho, las agencias reguladoras como la Comisión de Valores e Intercambio Bursátil (SEC) de EE.UU. surgieron porque los deberes fiduciarios de la ley consuetudinaria no proporcionaban una adecuada protección a los propietarios distantes.

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