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Contestants, Profiteers, and the Political Dynamics of MarketizationHow Shareholders gained Control Rights in Britain, Germany, and France$
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Helen Callaghan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198815020

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198815020.001.0001

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(p.95) 5 France
Contestants, Profiteers, and the Political Dynamics of Marketization

Helen Callaghan

Oxford University Press

The French case serves as a reminder that the timing and magnitude of policy feedback effects are historically contingent. Compared to their German and British counterparts, French incumbents faced fewer challenges and weaker constraints prior to World War II, and a correspondingly stronger political backlash thereafter. The first set of reforms was more severely market-restraining, and gave rise to a new breed of sheltered incumbents closely connected to the state. As in other countries and time periods, and like market-enabling rules, the market-restraining French arrangements had self-reinforcing feedback effects: They effectively suppressed the rise of a pro-market clientele. As in Germany, self-undermining feedback effects countervailed. As in Britain, the first steps toward marketization gave rise to a fledgling takeover industry interested in market expansion. However, unlike in Britain, the growth of this pro-market clientele was nipped in the bud by the unfavorable economic climate of the 1970s.

Keywords:   France, Third Republic, Fourth Republic, Fifth Republic, corporate governance, company law reform, takeover regulation, Communist, Socialist, Gaullist, hostile bids

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