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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2013
JournalBusiness History
Journal number4
Volume55
Number of pages17
Pages636-652
Early online date15/01/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

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.