From traders to planters: The evolving role and importance of trading companies in the 19th century Anglo-Indian Indigo trade

Michael Aldous*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Globalisation in the late--nineteenth century was driven by expansion of global commodity trades. These processes are predominantly explained as the result of changes in technology and policy. Less attention is paid to the trading companies undertaking these activities. To understand their importance in global trade this article examines their role in the significant Anglo-Indian indigo trade. It reveals they innovated their organisation and structure of the trade to lower a range of transaction costs and improve market coordination, leading to an expansion in the trade. Explanations of globalisation can be improved by accounting for the evolving role of trading companies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness History
Early online date30 Jun 2019
Publication statusEarly online date - 30 Jun 2019



  • Globalization
  • Indigo
  • long-distance trade
  • trading companies
  • transaction cost economics

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