Corporate ownership and control in Victorian Britain

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    Using ownership and control data for 890 firm‐years, this article examines the concentration of capital and voting rights in British companies in the second half of the nineteenth century. We find that both capital and voting rights were diffuse by modern‐day standards. However, this does not necessarily mean that there was a modern‐style separation of ownership from control in Victorian Britain. One major implication of our findings is that diffuse ownership was present in the UK much earlier than previously thought, and given that it occurred in an era with weak shareholder protection law, it somewhat undermines the influential law and finance hypothesis. We also find that diffuse ownership is correlated with large boards, a London head office, non‐linear voting rights, and shares traded on multiple markets.


    • Corporate ownership and control in Victorian Britain

      Rights statement: © Economic History Society 2014. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Acheson, G. G., Campbell, G., Turner, J. D. and Vanteeva, N. (2015), Corporate ownership and control in Victorian Britain. The Economic History Review, 68: 911–936, which has been published in final form at doi: 10.1111/ehr.12086. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

      Accepted author manuscript, 561 KB, PDF-document


    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages26
    Pages (from-to)911-936
    JournalEconomic History Review
    Journal publication dateAug 2015
    Issue number3
    Early online date10 Nov 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

    ID: 13184907