Conceptualizing the Business Corporation: Insights from History

Journal of Institutional Economics, Forthcoming

19 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2020

See all articles by David Gindis

David Gindis

University of Hertfordshire - Business School

Date Written: April 28, 2020


The purpose of this symposium is to shed light on the genealogy of the idea of a business corporation, an economic institution which has long been regarded with a mixture of awe and apprehension. Each of the four original contributions addresses the history of some of its key features. In the process, each contributor reveals some of the insights that history has to teach us regarding the central concepts that inform contemporary debates about the nature of the corporation, the contours of the corporation’s purpose, the sources of corporate power, the functions of corporate law, the duties of directors, the status of shareholders, and the legitimacy of corporate rights.

Keywords: Business corporation, Corporate personality, Ownership, membership and governance, Limited liability, Economic and legal history, History of economic, legal and political thought

JEL Classification: B15, K20, N20, N80, O16

Suggested Citation

Gindis, David, Conceptualizing the Business Corporation: Insights from History (April 28, 2020). Journal of Institutional Economics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

David Gindis (Contact Author)

University of Hertfordshire - Business School ( email )

Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AB
United Kingdom

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