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Law, politics and the governance of English and Scottish joint-stock companies, 1600-1850

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Business History
Issue number4
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)636-652
Early online date15/01/13
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article examines the impact of law on corporate governance by means of a case study of joint-stock enterprise in England and Scotland before 1850. Based on a dataset of over 450 company constitutions together with qualitative information on governance practice, it finds little evidence to support the hypothesis that common-law regimes such as England were more supportive of economic growth than civil-law jurisdictions such as Scotland: indeed, levels of shareholder protection were slightly stronger in the civil-law zone. Other factors, such as local political institutions, played a bigger role in shaping organisational forms and business practice.