Was Marshall Right? Managerial Failure and Corporate Ownership in Edwardian Britain



Alfred Marshall argued that the malaise of public companies in Edwardian Britain was due to the separation of ownership from control and a lack of professional management. In this paper, we examine the ownership and control of the c.1,700 largest British companies in 1911. We find that most public companies had a separation of ownership and control, but that this had little effect on their performance. We also find that manager characteristics that proxy for amateurism are uncorrelated with performance. Ultimately, our evidence suggests that, if Marshall was correct in identifying a corporate malaise in Britain, its source lay elsewhere.

This dataset record is a metadata only record. It points to the dataset in OpenICPSR via the DOI.
Date made available16 Nov 2022
Temporal coverage1911
Date of data production2022
Geographical coverageUnited Kingdom

Cite this