Fahmi Ben Abdelkader
Ph.D in Economics from the University of Paris1 Sorbonne

Current position:
Independant consultant providing financial training and research services
Scientific coordinator at LabEx ReFi
Affiliate Professor of Finance at ESCP Europe Business School


University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne - Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne
Ph.D. in Economics (Doctorat), 2005-2009

        Doctoral dissertation award: International Doctoral Prize of the CEDIMES Institute
        1st Prize for Doctoral Research Work in Economic Studies, 2011

University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
Master’s degree in International Economics & Economics of Transition, 2001-02

Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences, Sousse University (Tunisia)
Master’s degree in Economics and Econometrics, 2000-01

Research Interests

Corporate governance; State-Controlled Firms; Politics and Finance; State Capitalism; Political Economy;
Institutional Economics; Economics of transition and governance.

Working Papers

Government as Dominant Shareholder and Corporate Payout Policy: Evidence from French National Champions
With Pramuan Bunkanwanicha (ESCP Europe), Clifford Holderness (Boston College), and Christophe Moussu (ESCP Europe)

Job Market Paper: This paper examines the role of the preferences of controlling shareholder in shaping corporate payout policy. We investigate the dividend policy of state-controlled firms in France during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Using a sample of French listed firms over the 2006-09 period, we provide evidence that state-controlled firms paid more dividends than peer firms. Despite the impact of the crisis on corporate performance, state-controlled firms remain reluctant to cut dividends and show higher dividend payout compared to peer firms. This result is consistent with firms in which the state is the largest stockholder or a block stockholder. We argue that the French state is a strongly influential stockholder and uses its power to disgorge cash dividends. In the context of financial crisis and substantial increase of public debt, cash dividends are an important source of revenue for the state that can be used to reduce exploding public deficits. The main implication of our findings is that, at least in part, corporations are sensitive to the preferences and consumption needs of controlling shareholder when setting payout policy.

Consultant mission – The World Bank (March 2013 – December 2013)

Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises in MENA region

The overarching objective of this project is to better understand the main systemic challenges (with a focus on transparency, accountability and economic efficiency) related to SOEs in four selected countries (Tunisia/Morocco/Egypt and Lebanon, based on a sample of companies). The survey is based on interviews in selected SOEs and in control bodies and units in charge of monitoring performance of SOEs. The project will have two main parts: (i) country level diagnostic assessments in four countries, focusing on state ownership arrangements and performance monitoring systems using the examples of several SOEs; (ii) summary report of the main findings. This work should help governments and SOEs to identify and prioritize some possible actions to improve governance of SOEs based on a risk analysis approach. This activity should lead to develop a categorization of the main different types of SOEs.

Working papers in progress

The state-shareholder around the world

With Pramuan Bunkanwanicha (ESCP Europe) and Clifford Holderness (Boston College)

Abstract: We use data on ownership structures of large corporations in the world to identify state control in publicly traded companies. We provide evidence that the state-shareholder has spread over the last decade. We show that, despite the largest privatization wave in the history, governments have continued to maintain large equity positions in a great number of major public firms. While the state-owned sector as a whole has been in rapid retreat, this decline is more the result of selective privatization than liberalization. Governments have tailored privatization by letting go of small companies in order to create National Champions and to promote them within a competitive environment. They have typically transferred ownership without abandoning proportional control.

Dividend payout policy and the preferences of shareholders: a literature review

Abstract: Miller and Modigliani (1961) raise the question of whether firms set policies and investors sort accordingly, or companies respond to the preferences of their current shareholders. We present a synthesis of academic research and empirical evidence consistent with the latter. Many arguments have been advanced in the literature to explain why and how the preferences of investors might affect the dividend payout choices. Our reading of the literature and the collective evidence leads us to sort these arguments into two groups: the big three (Asymmetric information, Agency costs and Taxes) and the little three (Signaling, Behavioral Influences, Clientele effects). We conclude that a simple asymmetric information framework that embeds agency costs and security valuation problems does a reasonable job of explaining the main features of observed payout policies. We argue that managerial signaling motives, clientele demands and investors’ behavioral influences have at best minor influences on payout policy, but that behavioral biases and the preferences of controlling stockholders potentially have a first-order impact.

Journal Articles

« Transition institutionnelle des pays méditerranéens et des pays d’Europe de l’Est. Analyse comparative de l’évolution de leurs systèmes de gouvernance », with Daniel Labaronne, Revue d’économie politique, (2008), Vol. 118 (5), pp.743-775. read more

« Abus de position publique et privatisation de masse dans les économies de l’Est en transition. Approches théoriques et empiriques, with Daniel Labaronne, Revue d’Etudes Comparatives Est-Ouest, (2007), Vol. 38 (2), pp.167-196.

« Le développement comme liberté : analyse comparative MENA-PECO », with Daniel Labaronne, Revue d’Etudes Comparatives Est-Ouest, (2006), Vol. 37 (1), pp. 63-96.


« Institutions de gouvernance, confiance et développement dans les pays arabes ». Éditions l’Harmattan. 2014. Read more

With Pr. Daniel Labaronne (Université Bordeaux IV).

The foreword of the book is authored by Pr. Claude Ménard (University of Paris1 Sorbonne) co-founder of the International Society for New Institutional Economics.

« Développement économique et systèmes de gouvernance dans les pays arabes: économie politique de la transition institutionnelle ». Éditions Universitaires Européennes, 2011.

Book Chapters

« La dimension institutionnelle du soulèvement de la rue arabe », in Quelle gouvernance et quelles institutions au Maghreb face aux enjeux géostratégiques ?, Ed. Camille SARI, 2015.

« Politique européenne de voisinage et convergence des cultures de gouvernance UE-Pays du Sud et Est de la Méditerranée », in La politique européenne de voisinage et le Maghreb, Ed. Mohamed Haddar, Commission européenne, 2008.

« Libertés instrumentales et gouvernance pays : analyse comparative pays méditerranéens – pays d’Europe de l’Est », in Vers l’élargissement de l’Union européenne et à l’Europe du Sud-Est, Ed. Xavier Richet, Presse universitaire de Rennes, 2007.

« Gouvernance, Libertés et spécificités institutionnelles des MENA : analyse à partir d’une approche multidimensionnelle », RSCAS No. 2006/02, Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies. European Union Institute Working papers, 2006.

Participation in Research Projects

CDC Institute
$30 000 for « Privatisation of Harbour Companies in the Maghreb Countries », Principal Investigator: Daniel Labaronne, 2011-12.

OCP Foundation
$24 000 for « « RSE, culture d’entreprise et développement territorial : Analyse monographique d’une entreprise publique marocaine : l’Office Chérifien des Phosphates », Principal Investigator: Daniel Labaronne, 2011-12.

Ecole des Mines de Paris
Secretary-General of the Observatory of Emerging Countries, 2008.

University of Paris I Sorbonne, CES-MATISSE
Participation in research program: « National report on non-profit sector in France », Principal Investigator: Viviane Tchernonog, 2007.

International Symposium on Human Security and sustainable development
Conference organization: member of the scientific committee, Dubai, December 2006.

Awards & Grants

Doctoral dissertation award: International Doctoral Prize of the CEDIMES Institute
1st Prize for Doctoral Research Work in Economic Studies, 2011, $3500.

FEMISE (Euro-Mediterranean Network of Economic Institutions) & European Commission & CNRS-CES
Supervisor of a field survey on the impact of free trade agreements on informal activities in the Maghreb Countries, (2004-05), $220.000 for questionnaire conception and survey implementation (Sample: 600 firms and 6000 employees). Principal Investigator: Boris Najman.

Conference Presentations & Seminars

Harvard Law School. A popular uprising within an “economic miracle”: An institutional analysis of the Tunisian spring. With Claude Ménard. 19th Annual Conference of The International Society for New Institutional Economics. Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA June 18 – 20, 2015.

OECD Paris. « Government as Dominant Shareholder and Corporate Payout Policy: Evidence from French National Champions ». « 2nd Workshop on Trade and Investment by State-Owned and State-Controlled Enterprises».  June 19, 2014, Paris.

Laval University.« Government as Dominant Shareholder and Corporate Payout Policy: Evidence from French National Champions ». « State Capitalism in the New Global Political Economy».  Nov 21-24, 2013, Laval University. Quebec City.

« State-owned enterprises in MENA region: a long-term strategy rather than a way-station to privatization». CMI Conference (Center for Mediterranean Integration), with The World Bank and OCEMO «Public Governance and Economic Development in MENA », 6th July 2013, Aix-en-Provence.

« Culture de gouvernance et développement : Approches théorique et empirique à partir d’une analyse comparative pays du Moyen Orient et d’Afrique du Nord -pays d’Europe centrale et orientale ». IRMC (Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain), le 2 et 3 Juin 2009.

« Approches théoriques et empiriques des systèmes nationaux de gouvernance dans les Pays du Sud et Est de la Méditerranée. Une analyse comparative avec les PECO. » Journées d’études – IRD : « Gouvernance en Méditerranée: des concepts aux pratiques », 23 et 24 Octobre 2008, IRD Paris.

« Politique européenne de voisinage et convergence des cultures de gouvernance UE-Pays du Sud et Est de la Méditerranée ». Troisième Colloque International « La Nouvelle Politique de Voisinage », 1-2 juin 2007, Faculté des sciences économiques et de Gestion de Tunis, Hammamet.

Governance in a development as freedom perspective. The case of MENA region. Norwegian Association for Development Research (NFU), Annual Conference, Oslo, Norway, 13-15 September 2006.

Governance, capabilities and Liberties in the MENA. Analyses from a multidimensional approach. The 8th International conference on the Economics and Finance of the Middle East and North Africa, Lebanese American University, Lebanon, May 22-24, 2006.

Governance, capabilities and liberties in the MENA countries. The 5th International Conference on the capability Approach ; Human Development and Capability Association – Harvard University ; 11-14th September 2005, Paris.

Is there an institutional specificity of the MENA countries? Colloque International Egypte : Le Partenariat euro-méditerranéen, dix ans après Barcelone. Institut de Recherche et Développement (IRD Egypte), Egypte, 18 et 19 Avril 2005, Le Caire.

Gouvernance, Libertés et spécificités institutionnelles des MENA dans le contexte économique mondial : analyse à partir d’une approche multidimensionnelle. Colloque : Sixth Mediterranean Social and Political Research Meeting, European Union Institute (EUI), Université Robert Schuman, 16–20 Mars 2005, Florence.

« De la gouvernance économique des entreprises à la convergence démocratique des Etats : approche comparative des systèmes de gouvernance pays du Maghreb-PECO » ; Conférence internationale : La société mondialisée : espace de coopération ou de conflit ? ; Université de Saint-Pétersbourg (Russie) 7-11 Septembre 2005.

« Gouvernance des entreprises et des Etats au Maghreb, Approche comparative avec les PECO » Colloque de clôture du programme de recherche : Gouvernance et culture d'entreprise au Maghreb, Acteurs, Pouvoirs et Représentations, Institut de Recherche du Maghreb Contemporain (IRMC), Tunis, 9-11 Juin 2005.

“Governance, Capabilities and Liberties in the MENA countries. Analysis from a multidimensional approach” Middle East and North African Economies: Past Perspectives and Future Challenges. Free University of Brussels, Belgique, 2-4 Juin, 2005.

« Gouvernance, Libertés et spécificités institutionnelles des MENA dans le contexte économique mondial: analyse à partir d’une approche multidimensionnelle », Economie du développement et de la transition, Journées de l’AFSE, Clermont-Ferrand, 19 et 20 Mai 2005.

« Gouvernance, Libertés et spécificités institutionnelles des MENA dans le contexte économique mondial: analyse à partir d’une approche multidimensionnelle », colloque Le développement local dans une perspective comparée,  Institut Cedimes, Turin,  17-18 mai 2005.

« Gouvernance, Libertés et spécificités institutionnelles des MENA dans le contexte économique mondial: analyse à partir d’une approche multidimensionnelle », XXIèmes journées de l’Association Tiers Monde, Marrakech, 22 et 23 Avril 2005.

« Libertés instrumentales dans les pays méditerranéens et les pays d’Europe centrale et orientale : analyse comparative à partir de la base de données du Minefi », colloque Intégration économique, concurrence et coopération,  Université de Rijeka, Croatie, 19-20 avril 2005.


La Tunisie piégée par le capitalisme clanique. Le Monde, 18/04/2014

En France, le grand retour du capitalisme d'Etat. Le Monde, 27/02/2014

L'économie tunisienne à l'épreuve des rentiers. Les Echos, 15/10/2014

L'Etat-actionnaire : survivance hitorique transitoire ou stratégie de long terme? Le Cercle des Echos, 23/01/2014.

La schizophrénie de l’État actionnaire ou la fable des prix de l’énergie. Le Cercle des Echos, 17/07/2012.

La transition vers l'économie de marché et la démocratie au Maghreb. Les leçons des Pays d'Europe de l'Est. With Daniel Labaronne. ECONOMIA, March 2011.

Le syndrome Goldman Sachs frappe toute la finance. With Steve Ohana, Professor of Finance at ESCP Europe. La Tribune, 20/04/2010.

Major Work Experience

ESCP Europe
Affiliate Professor of Finance, 2013 - to present 

LabEx ReFi

Scientific coordinator, 2015 - to present

The World Bank

Consultant, 2013

ESCP Europe
Postdoc position and lecturer, 2010-2012

University of Paris I Sorbonne, CES
Assistant lecturer (ATER), 2007-2009

Elysees Bureau Company (Private Service Company)
Deputy Managing director, 2002-2006

ECO-NET SERVICES (Private Holding Company)
Executive assistant to the CEO, 2001-2002

Additional Information

Nationality: Tunisian & French

Languages: Arab (native), French, English


Databases: Thomson one Bankers, DataStream


Member of "La Commission générale de terminologie et de néologie" at Ministry of Finance

Advisory Board, SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) Supélec France

 Web site of Fahmi Ben Abdelkader, Ph.D. in Economics