Family Structure, Institutions, and Growth: The Origins and Implications of Western Corporations
11 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2006
This paper traces the origins and the growth implications of one of the most fundamental institutional changes in history. What constituted this change was the emergence of the economic and political corporations in late medieval Europe. "Corporations" are defined here, consistent with their historical meaning, as intentionally created, voluntary, interest-based, and self-governed permanent associations. The provision of corporation-based institutions to mitigate problems of cooperation and conflict constituted a break from the ways in which institutions had been provided in the past. The particularities of the European family structure - the nuclear family - contributed to the rise of corporations. Corporation-based institutions have been instrumental in leading Europe along a distinct institutional - and hence development and growth - trajectory to the modern period.
Keywords: Family, Corporations, Institutions, Growth, Europe
JEL Classification: O4, O17, N13, N33, D29
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