Conceptualizing the Business Corporation: Insights from History

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-577
JournalJournal of Institutional Economics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Business corporation
  • corporate personality
  • economic and legal history
  • history of economic
  • legal and political thought
  • limited liability
  • membership and governance
  • ownership


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