Business creation and political turmoil: Ireland versus Scotland before 1900

Robin J. C. Adams*, Gareth Campbell, Christopher Coyle, John D. Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

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What effect does political instability in the form of a potential secession from a political union have on business formation? Using newly collected data on business creation, we show that entrepreneurial activity in Ireland in the late nineteenth century was much lower than Scotland, and this divergence fluctuated over time. Several factors may have contributed to this, but we argue that political uncertainty about the prospect of a devolved government in Ireland played a role. The effects were most acute in the North of Ireland, the region that was most concerned by potential changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-739
Number of pages31
JournalBusiness History Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2022


  • Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Home Rule
  • entrepreneurship
  • political risk


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