Research attention to family firms has significantly increased in recent years, with a growing application of economic theories such as agency theory and resource-based theory to explain differences between family firms and nonfamily firms and heterogeneity among family firm populations. Despite this progress, the formulation of an economic theory of family business remains notably absent. Merely applying existing economic theories of the firm to the realm of family business is inadequate, as these general theories fail to incorporate the idiosyncratic aspects of family firms, such as the pursuit of socioemotional wealth. This paper seeks to advance economic theories specific to family firms and lay the groundwork for future studies. We advocate for interdisciplinary research using insights from fields such as economics, management, sociology, and psychology to investigate the complex dynamics governing family firms and their economic behaviors, decision-making, and performance.


Business and Information Technology

Keywords and Phrases

Culture; Family business; Family firms; G32; G34; Governance; Institutional economics; L20; L25; Long-term orientation

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1573-0913; 0921-898X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





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Publication Date

01 Jan 2024