Corporate Ownership and Control in Victorian Britain

26 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2015

See all articles by Graeme Acheson

Graeme Acheson

University of Stirling

Gareth Campbell

Queen's University Belfast - Queen's Management School; Queen's University Belfast

John D. Turner

Queen's University Belfast; Queen's University Belfast - Queen's Management School

Nadia Vanteeva

Queen's University Belfast; University of Oxford - Kellogg College

Date Written: August 2015

Abstract

Using ownership and control data for 890 firm‐years, this article examines the concentration of capital and voting rights in British companies in the second half of the nineteenth century. We find that both capital and voting rights were diffuse by modern‐day standards. However, this does not necessarily mean that there was a modern‐style separation of ownership from control in Victorian Britain. One major implication of our findings is that diffuse ownership was present in the UK much earlier than previously thought, and given that it occurred in an era with weak shareholder protection law, it somewhat undermines the influential law and finance hypothesis. We also find that diffuse ownership is correlated with large boards, a London head office, non‐linear voting rights, and shares traded on multiple markets.

Suggested Citation

Acheson, Graeme and Campbell, Gareth and Turner, John D. and Vanteeva, Nadia, Corporate Ownership and Control in Victorian Britain (August 2015). The Economic History Review, Vol. 68, Issue 3, pp. 911-936, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2631792 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ehr.12086

Graeme Acheson (Contact Author)

University of Stirling ( email )

Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
United Kingdom

Gareth Campbell

Queen's University Belfast - Queen's Management School

Riddel Hall
185 Stranmillis Road
Belfast, BT9 5EE
United Kingdom

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

Riddel Hall
185 Stranmillis Road
Belfast, BT9 5EE
United Kingdom

John D. Turner

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

David Leir Building
Belfast BT7 1NN, BT9 5AG
Ireland

Queen's University Belfast - Queen's Management School

Riddel Hall
185 Stranmillis Road
Belfast, BT9 5EE
United Kingdom

Nadia Vanteeva

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

25 University Square
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Ireland

University of Oxford - Kellogg College ( email )

62 Banbury Road
Oxford, OX2 6PN
United Kingdom

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