The Nordic Model in an International Perspective: The Role of Ownership

Ronald J. Gilson, Columbia Law School


This essay appears in a book entitled the Nordic Corporate Governance Model (Per Lekvall ed. 2014). It presents the Nordic country’s governance pattern as an ownership model, in contrast to the Anglo-Saxon model of dispersed shareholders. An ownership model contemplates an active controlling owner who addresses the agency problem confronting public corporations with dispersed shareholders, and a larger role for minority shareholders and courts in constraining the potential for self-dealing by the controlling owner. The essay concludes by noting the great increase in institutional ownership in the Nordic countries, especially Sweden, and raises the question of the role of minority institutional blockholders in corporations with a controlling owner.