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Investment and Diversification in the American Whaling Industry

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  • Hilt, Eric

Abstract

This article analyzes the connection between investment decisions and financing arrangements in the nineteenth-century American whaling industry. Managers of whaling ventures shared their risks by selling some equity claims but retained a substantial portion due to moral hazard considerations. As a result, they had little incentive to consider the covariance between their own returns, and those of others, in planning their voyages. This stifled diversity in whaling voyages and increased industry-wide risk. The analysis suggests a link between financial market development, or the extent of risk sharing in financial markets, and the range of economic activities pursued.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 67 (2007)
Issue (Month): 02 (June)
Pages: 292-314

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:67:y:2007:i:02:p:292-314_00

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Cited by:
  1. Hilt, Eric, 2008. "The negative trade-off between risk and incentives: Evidence from the american whaling industry," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 424-444, September.

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