Corporate Ownership Structure as a Determinant of “Risk Taking”: Insights from Italian Listed Companies

  •  Pier Luigi Marchini    
  •  Veronica Tibiletti    
  •  Alice Medioli    
  •  Gianluca Gabrielli    


Ever since major accounting scandals and corporate collapses of the early 2000’s, the improved risk taking and the lax approach to risk management procedures, which are viewed as contributing factors to the market breakdown that occurred in the international market and, in particular, in the U.S. in 2007, have led to an increased awareness of the importance of managing risk on the part of listed companies. Risk management has gained importance in the definition of what it means to be the best and most efficient corporate governance structure and mechanism, as it can play a fundamental role in helping to achieve the company’s target. Also disclosure related to risk management is fundamental for the efficient functioning of capital markets since it helps to improve corporate transparency and to reduce the information asymmetry between insiders and outsiders.

This paper aims to investigate the relationship between ownership structure and corporate risk-taking behavior and disclosure, as a tool for protecting shareholders, among Italian listed companies. The analysis is devoted to the Italian stock market because it is strongly characterized by a high ownership concentration and by the presence of a family ownership model; and this scenario makes the Italian one an interesting case to study. Based on a sample of 233 Italian listed companies, through a multivariate regression, we find that a high level of ownership concentration is positively related to a firms' low level of risk taking by the board of directors, so giving interesting insights to regulators and practitioners, as well as for further research.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.