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‘The last acre and sixpence’: views on bank liability regimes in nineteenth-century Britain


  • Turner, John D.


In the nineteenth century, British banking had a complete spectrum of shareholder liability regimes, ranging from pure limited to unlimited liability. Although the debate surrounding the US experience with double liability in banking is well documented, we know relatively little about the British experience of and debate about shareholder liability regimes in banking. Consequently, this article traces the development of views on shareholder liability regimes in nineteenth-century British banking. One of the main findings is that the chief argument for limited liability in British banking was based upon the perceived weaknesses of unlimited liability. In addition, it appears that much of the debate concentrated on the depositor-assuring viability of alternatives to unlimited liability.

Suggested Citation

  • Turner, John D., 2009. "‘The last acre and sixpence’: views on bank liability regimes in nineteenth-century Britain," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 111-127, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:fihrev:v:16:y:2009:i:02:p:111-127_99

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    Cited by:

    1. Ilgmann, Cordelius, 2011. "The advent of corporate limited liability in Prussia 1843," CAWM Discussion Papers 46, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).
    2. Christopher L. Colvin & Eoin McLaughlin, 2014. "Raiffeisenism abroad: why did German cooperative banking fail in Ireland but prosper in the Netherlands?," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(2), pages 492-516, May.
    3. Salter, Alexander W. & Veetil, Vipin & White, Lawrence H., 2017. "Extended shareholder liability as a means to constrain moral hazard in insured banks," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 153-160.

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