University of Hertfordshire

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Conceptualizing the Business Corporation: Insights from History

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


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