The holding company and corporate control
1. Research subject and objectives This study focuses on an economic institution, the large industrial holding company, which continues to hold a prominent if not a strategic position in the resource allocation process in many industrialised market economies. Powerful multicompany combines like the famous Japanese zaibatsu and the less familiar but equally powerful European industrial groups rely on the institution of the holding company to tie their intermarket control network together. Two general questions arise from this situation: first, what factors account for the viability and growth within a market setting of those institutions which internalise allocation decisions and, second, what effect do such institutions have on resource allocation? These questions provide the framework in which the proper research subject can be most adequately introduced. Before doing so, it is crucial to point out that the holding company institution, as analyzed in subsequent chapters, should not be confounded with the legal constructs, bearing the same generic name and flourishing in fiscal paradises, whose sole function is to organise tax evasion across national boundaries. The institution, as studied here, is the large holding company through which industrial groups manage multicompany systems. Such multicompany systems, operating an intermarket network by means of holding companies, continue to be more typical for Europe and Japan than for the United States where, for legal reasons, but also because of managerial efficiency, the multicompany system built around the holding company institution was rather short-lived and 1 the giant integrated multiunit enterprise rose to dominance instead.