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Fabio Rizzato ORCID logo, Donatella Busso ORCID logo, Alain Devalle ORCID logo, Alessandro Zerbetto


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The Italian corporate governance system has been strengthened in the last decade to increase transparency in the management of companies and to increase the protection for minority shareholders. This paper addresses this concern by providing an empirical analysis of the composition and structure of the corporate governance system of Italian companies and its compliance with the Italian and international corporate governance standards, and identifying the determinants of the compliance. The sample comprises 159 listed companies belonging to the Italian Stock Exchange (FTSE Italia All-Share) in 2013. By means of a Corporate Governance Index (CG index) made up of 15 items, this paper defines the determinants that affect the compliance of the corporate governance structure of Italian companies. Our study uses an ordinary least square regression model to determine the independent variables that can influence the CG index of groups listed on the Italian regulated market, in accordance with international literature in this area.
Results show that there is still a moderate level of compliance with the Italian and international corporate governance standards, with differences depending on the size of the company. Furthermore, our research shows that the presence of institutional investors increases the score of the CG index, whereas family ownership results in a significant and negative correlation. Furthermore, as a typical issue in the Italian context, we found that leverage has a significant and positive influence on the composition of corporate governance and its compliance with international standards.

Keywords: CG Index, Code of Corporate Governance, Italy, Corporate Governance

JEL Classification: G30, G32

Received: 13.10.2018

Accepted: 16.01.2019

Published online: 18.01.2019

How to cite this paper: Rizzato, F., Busso, D., Devalle, A., & Zerbetto, A. (2018). Corporate governance system in Italy: Compliance and quality. Corporate Ownership & Control, 16(1-1), 217-233.