Convergent Evolution Toward the Joint-Stock Company

47 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2019 Last revised: 7 Dec 2023

See all articles by David Le Bris

David Le Bris

Toulouse Business School

Sebastien Pouget

Toulouse School of Economics

William N. Goetzmann

Yale School of Management - International Center for Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 10, 2019

Abstract

The origin of the modern publicly-held joint-stock company is typically traced to large-scale maritime trading companies in England and the Netherlands in the early 17th century. Highlighting medieval cases in southern Europe, we claim that the joint-stock company likely emerged in several times and places, in response to a similar set of needs and requirements for coordinating large-scale enterprises. These prior appearances support the theory of convergent evolution toward the joint-stock company. We document the different legal genealogies of the various paths, their independence and their socio-economic contexts. These observations have implications for the necessary legal and political background underlying the emergence of the joint-stock company, and for the debate regarding the link between institutions and economic development.

Keywords: Joint-Stock Company, Business Organizations, Medieval Institutions, Little Divergence

JEL Classification: G30, K22, N23, 016

Suggested Citation

Le Bris, David and Pouget, Sebastien and Goetzmann, William N., Convergent Evolution Toward the Joint-Stock Company (September 10, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3451981 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3451981

David Le Bris (Contact Author)

Toulouse Business School ( email )

20, bd Lascrosses
Toulouse, 31068
France

Sebastien Pouget

Toulouse School of Economics ( email )

21 allée de Brienne
31015 Toulouse Cedex 6
France

William N. Goetzmann

Yale School of Management - International Center for Finance ( email )

165 Whitney Ave.
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States
203-432-5950 (Phone)
203-436-9252 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://viking.som.yale.edu

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
59
Abstract Views
904
Rank
666,245
PlumX Metrics