The Character and Denomination of Shares in the Victorian Equity Market
25 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2012
Date Written: August 2012
The seminal work of J. B. Jefferys highlighted two unusual features of the Victorian equity market, namely high share denomination and uncalled capital. This article examines the extent to which publicly traded company stocks in the nineteenth century had these features. It also analyses the effect of these features on stock returns using monthly data for the London Stock Market over the period 1825–70. We find that stocks with unpaid capital earned a higher return, which is consistent with investors being rewarded for the risk of a call on their personal assets. We also find that stocks with a high share denomination earned a lower return, which is consistent with the view that this feature was conducive to superior corporate governance.
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