NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Revisiting American Exceptionalism: Democracy and the Regulation of Corporate Governance in Nineteenth-Century Pennsylvania

Naomi R. Lamoreaux

NBER Working Paper No. 20231
Issued in June 2014, Revised in October 2014
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy

The legal rules governing businesses' organizational choices have varied across nations along two main dimensions: the number of different forms that businesses can adopt; and the extent to which businesses have the contractual freedom to modify the available forms to suit their needs. Until the late twentieth century, businesses in the U.S. had a narrower range of forms from which to choose than their counterparts in these other countries and also much less ability to modify the basic forms contractually. This article uses the case of Pennsylvania to argue that the sources of this "American exceptionalism" reside in the interplay between the early achievement of universal (white) manhood suffrage and elite efforts to safeguard property rights.

download in pdf format
   (270 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20231

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Lindert w20232 Making the Most of Capital in the 21st Century
Guinnane, Harris, and Lamoreaux w20481 Contractual Freedom and the Evolution of Corporate Control in Britain, 1862 to 1929
Bloch and Lamoreaux w21153 Voluntary Associations, Corporate Rights, and the State: Legal Constraints on the Development of American Civil Society, 1750-1900
Hilt w20356 History of American Corporate Governance: Law, Institutions, and Politics
Lee, McCullough, and Town w18025 The Impact of Health Information Technology on Hospital Productivity
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us