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Financial History Seminar Series - A Global Census of Corporations in 1910, by Leslie Hannah

When Apr 29, 2013
from 05:00 PM to 07:00 PM
Where Lucia Windsor Room, Newnham College
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"A Global Census of Corporations in 1910" by Professor Leslie Hannah, LSE and Tokyo

Exploiting a new global database on the numbers and paid-in capital of business corporations in eighty-one countries in 1910, the paper considers the determinants of both corporatization (the incorporation of assets, whether in closed, private companies or in publicly-quoted ones) and securitization (the proportion of corporate share capital quoted on organized stock exchanges). The capitalist institution that now dominates global business initially prospered less under the French or German civil law systems – adopted by most world economies – than under English common law and its derivatives, though this correlation may not imply causation. A century later, despite the suppression of the corporation for many decades in some countries, there were many times more corporations in all countries and patterns of adoption were converging. The more interesting differences in 1910 were between (often poor) enclave economies with capital-importing corporate sectors and economies (at various income levels) with a vibrant local small private company sector. This new quantitative perspective challenges some orthodoxies and raises new questions about the relationship between early corporate development and economic outcomes

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