This paper provides an up-to-date, census-based, descriptive analysis of the ownership structure and governance of Italian companies over the last decade. Furthermore, it examines the effects of the reduction of entry costs on firm demography as well as the correlations between context factors, governance structures and company performance.
The number of limited liability companies has increased, mainly thanks to the reduction in entry costs. The frequency of family ownership continues to be high, especially in areas where there is less trust in others, lower efficiency of justice and higher tax evasion. Family businesses grow less and are less productive on average, especially larger companies and those that are most exposed to competition. Poor performance is also related to lower level of human capital and the lack of good managerial practices.