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This paper contributes to the literature on management in family firms by investigating how succession in family firms affects returns on investment. The identities of the chief executive officer (CEO) and the chairman of the board (COB) were used to establish whether the management of the firm can be characterized as founder, descendant, or external management. A unique, unbalanced panel data set on listed Swedish firms covering the period from 1990 to 2005 was used in the analysis. The results show that founder management has a positive effect on the returns on investment in family firms, whereas descendant management has a negative impact. An external CEO as a successor in family firms leads to more efficient investment policies with increased firm value as a result. That is, when studying corporate governance in family firms it is important to account for what type of management the firm has. Further studies are required to understand the relationship between ownership, control, management, and firm performance.
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