The Development of Corporate Governance in Toulouse 1372-1946
61 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2015 Last revised: 3 Mar 2016
Date Written: March 3, 2016
We exploit unique archives extending over six centuries to trace the development of corporate governance mechanisms that emerged in response to problems inherent in organizing, capitalizing and sustaining large-scale business enterprises. Two Toulouse milling concerns with antecedents in the 11th century organized themselves via mergers into widely-held joint-stock companies in the years 1372 and 1373. We document the institutional innovations they developed over the ensuing centuries, and place these in the context of institutional economic theory. The firms adapted or invented institutional features that are widely recognizable today, including fully tradable shares, limited liability, shareholder meetings, governing boards, cash payout policies, accounting audits and mechanisms for re-capitalization.
Keywords: Corporate Governance, Economic History
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