Summary: The ownership structure of corporations has attracted much attention in the wake of the corporate governance scandals. Much attention has been focused on publicly-listed firms in the wake of the legislative responses in the US (the Sarbanes-Oxley Act) and in Europe (the EU Commission’s Corporate Governance Action Plan). The issues, however, are more fundamental than the policy debate suggests. In particular, these issues cut to the heart of the theory of the firm and the pros and cons of private and public ownership of corporations. Academic research has in recent years made much progress in highlighting the relevance of legal and political institutions for the governance of listed and unlisted firms, as well as in advancing our understanding of firm boundaries and how they are affected by the choice of ownership mode. The purpose of the conference is to bring together some of this recent research and push the boundaries of future research on this topic. ...

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