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The Divorce of Ownership from Control from 1900: Re-calibrating Imagined Global Historical Trends

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  • Leslie Hannah

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)

Abstract

In 1900 US business corporations were dominated by plutocratic family owners, while British and French quoted companies more commonly divorced ownership from control. 'Democratic' corporate governance rules explain some of Europe's precocity and London's exceptional listing requirement of large free floats was an important initial factor in manufacturing. Later in the twentieth century, the United States overtook France by further divorcing ownership from control. Business historians should direct their efforts to understanding why Britain was an early pioneer, with persistently wide shareholding, why America took decades to catch up, and why other countries did not build on their earlier lead. The pursuit of alternative (largely imagined) histories of national ownership differences could usefully be curtailed.

Suggested Citation

  • Leslie Hannah, 2007. "The Divorce of Ownership from Control from 1900: Re-calibrating Imagined Global Historical Trends," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-460, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  • Handle: RePEc:tky:fseres:2007cf460
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    File URL: http://www.cirje.e.u-tokyo.ac.jp/research/dp/2007/2007cf460.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Acheson, Graeme G. & Coyle, Christopher & Turner, John D., 2015. "Happy hour followed by hangover: Financing the UK brewery industry, 1880-1913," QUCEH Working Paper Series 15-01, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    2. Eric Hilt, 2014. "Corporate Governance and the Development of Manufacturing Enterprises in Nineteenth-Century Massachusetts," NBER Chapters,in: Enterprising America: Businesses, Banks, and Credit Markets in Historical Perspective, pages 73-102 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Acheson, Graeme G. & Campbell, Gareth & Turner, John D., 2016. "Common law and the origin of shareholder protection," eabh Papers 16-03, The European Association for Banking and Financial History (EABH).
    4. Turner, John D., 2014. "Financial history and financial economics," QUCEH Working Paper Series 14-03, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    5. Braggion, Fabio & Giannetti, Mariassunta, 2013. "Public Debate and Stock Prices: Evidence from the Voting Premium," CEPR Discussion Papers 9619, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Graeme G. Acheson & Gareth Campbell & John D. Turner & Nadia Vanteeva, 2015. "Corporate ownership and control in Victorian Britain," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(3), pages 911-936, August.
    7. Miguel Á. López-Morell & José M. O'kean, 2014. "Rothschilds' strategies in international non-ferrous metals markets, 1830–1940," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(3), pages 720-749, August.
    8. Acheson, Graeme G. & Coyle, Christopher & Jordan, David P. & Turner, John D., 2018. "Share trading activity and the rise of the rentier in the UK before 1920," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2018-04, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.

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