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Legal Regime and Contractual Flexibility: A Comparison of Business's Organizational Choices in France and the United States during the Era of Industrialization

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  • Naomi R. Lamoreaux
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    Abstract

    We compare the law governing business organizational forms in France and the United States during the nineteenth century and find that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the contracting environment in the U.S. was neither freer nor more flexible than in France. U.S. businesses had a more limited menu of organizational choices and also much less ability to adapt the basic forms to meet their needs. Moreover, American law did not evolve any more readily in response to economic change than French law. In both nations, major changes in the rules governing organizational forms required the passage of new statutes. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/aler/ahi003
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal American Law and Economics Review.

    Volume (Year): 7 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 28-61

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:7:y:2005:i:1:p:28-61

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    Cited by:
    1. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
    2. Naomi R. Lamoreaux & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2006. "Corporate Governance and the Plight of Minority Shareholders in the United States before the Great Depression," NBER Chapters, in: Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America's Economic History, pages 125-152 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Armour, J. & Deakin, S. & Mollica, V. & Siems, M.M., 2010. "Law and Financial Development: What we are learning from time-series evidence," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp399, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
    4. Naomi R. Lamoreaux, 2014. "Revisiting American Exceptionalism: Democracy and the Regulation of Corporate Governance in Nineteenth-Century Pennsylvania," NBER Chapters, in: Enterprising America: Businesses, Banks, and Credit Markets in Historical Perspective National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Degryse, Hans & Lambert, Thomas & Schwienbacher, Armin, 2013. "The Political Economy of Financial Systems: Evidence from Suffrage Reforms in the Last Two Centuries," CEPR Discussion Papers 9621, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Le Bris, David, 2013. "Customary versus Civil Law within Old Regime France," MPRA Paper 52123, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Yasar, Mahmut & Paul, Catherine J. Morrison & Ward, Michael R., 2011. "Property Rights Institutions and Firm Performance: A Cross-Country Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 648-661, April.
    8. Dufrénot, G. & Frouté, P. & Schalck, C., 2010. "The French Regions’ Borrowing Behaviours. How heterogeneous are they?," Working papers 289, Banque de France.
    9. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8221 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Leslie Hannah, 2007. "Pioneering Modern Corporate Governance: a View from London in 1900," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-487, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    11. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/6824 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Davis, Lewis S., 2010. "Institutional flexibility and economic growth," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 306-320, September.
    13. Cull, Robert & Davis, Lance E. & Lamoreaux, Naomi R. & Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, 2006. "Historical financing of small- and medium-size enterprises," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 3017-3042, November.
    14. Naomi R. Lamoreaux & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2006. "Contractual Tradeoffs and SMEs Choice of Organizational Form, A View from U.S. and French History, 1830-2000," NBER Working Papers 12455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Leslie Hannah, 2007. "Pioneering Modern Corporate Governance: a View from London in 1900 (Subsequently published in "Enterprise and Society", vol. 8, no. 3, September 2007, pp. 642-86. )," CARF F-Series CARF-F-093, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
    16. Jérôme Sgard, 2006. "On Legal Origins and Brankruptcy Laws: the European Experience (1808-1914)," Sciences Po publications 2006-26, Sciences Po.
    17. Milo, Melanie S., 2007. "Integrated Financial Supervision: an Institutional Perspective for the Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 2007-17, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

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