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The Evolution of Corporate Law: A Cross-Country Comparison

60 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2003  

Katharina Pistor

Columbia University School of Law

Yoram Keinan

Ernst & Young

Jan Kleinheisterkamp

London School of Economics - Law Department; Cornell University - Law School

Mark D. West

University of Michigan Law School

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

Corporate law as it exists in any given country today is the result of roughly 200 years of legal change and legal adaptation. Provisions that today are hailed as indicators for good corporate governance did not exist when the first statutory corporate laws were put in place. This simple insight raises the question about the evolution of corporate law. In this paper we analyze ten jurisdictions representing the three major legal families as well as transplant countries and origin countries to explore the patterns of legal change over time. We find origin countries from common law and civil law families have experienced substantial legal change and adaptation over time. By contrast, legal transplants from both legal families have often retained the transplanted law for decades despite substantial economic change. The area of corporate law where we find the most significant change over time are corporate finance provisions. Provisions concerning corporate governance structures and entry and exit rules are also investigated.

JEL Classification: G3, K2, N2, P5

Suggested Citation

Pistor, Katharina and Keinan, Yoram and Kleinheisterkamp, Jan and West, Mark D., The Evolution of Corporate Law: A Cross-Country Comparison (2003). University of Pennsylvania, Journal of International Economic Law, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 791-871. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=419881 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.419881

Katharina Pistor (Contact Author)

Columbia University School of Law ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States
212-854-0068 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)

Yoram Keinan

Ernst & Young ( email )

1225 Connecticut Ave NW # 700
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Jan Kleinheisterkamp

London School of Economics - Law Department ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7955 7256 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/law/staff/jan-kleinheisterkamp.htm

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

Mark D. West

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Professor of Law
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
734-647-4041 (Phone)
734-764-8309 (Fax)

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