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http://ssrn.com/abstract=875008
 
 

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Family Structure, Institutions, and Growth: The Origins and Implications of Western Corporations


Avner Greif


Stanford University - Department of Economics; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)


American Economic Review, May 2006

Abstract:     
This paper traces the origins and the growth implications of one of the most fundamental institutional changes in history. What constituted this change was the emergence of the economic and political corporations in late medieval Europe. "Corporations" are defined here, consistent with their historical meaning, as intentionally created, voluntary, interest-based, and self-governed permanent associations. The provision of corporation-based institutions to mitigate problems of cooperation and conflict constituted a break from the ways in which institutions had been provided in the past. The particularities of the European family structure - the nuclear family - contributed to the rise of corporations. Corporation-based institutions have been instrumental in leading Europe along a distinct institutional - and hence development and growth - trajectory to the modern period.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 11

Keywords: Family, Corporations, Institutions, Growth, Europe

JEL Classification: O4, O17, N13, N33, D29

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Date posted: January 17, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Greif, Avner, Family Structure, Institutions, and Growth: The Origins and Implications of Western Corporations. American Economic Review, May 2006. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=875008

Contact Information

Avner Greif (Contact Author)
Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )
Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
650-725-8936 (Phone)
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) ( email )
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario
Canada
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