NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Incentives in Corporations: Evidence from the American Whaling Industry

Eric Hilt

NBER Working Paper No. 10403
Issued in April 2004
NBER Program(s):   DAE

In the 1830s, when whaling was a prosperous American industry, a number of whaling corporations were chartered. All of them were short-lived. This paper analyzes the failure of corporations in American whaling, and argues that the corporate form was unable to create the incentives requisite for success in the industry. Most nineteenth-century whaling ventures were owned by a small number of local investors, and were configured to provide powerful incentives for their managers. The effect of the corporate form on productivity is analyzed using a newly-collected panel dataset of 874 whaling voyages. Many whaling corporations were managed by individuals who had previously (or would subsequently) manage ventures with the usual ownership structure. Using an individual-fixed-effects framework, a strong negative effect of the corporate form on productivity is identified.

download in pdf format
   (314 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (314 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10403

Published: Hilt, Eric. "Incentives In Corporations: Evidence From The American Whaling Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, 2006, v49(1,Apr), 197-227.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Hilt w11960 The Negative Trade-off Between Risk and Incentives: Evidence from the American Whaling Industry
Davis, Gallman, and Hutchins w2477 Productivity in American Whaling: The New Bedford Fleet in the Nineteenth Century
Davis, Gallman, and Gleiter References
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us