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Legal Regime and Business's Organizational Choice: A Comparison of France and the United States during the Mid-Nineteenth Century

Lamoreaux, Naomi R. and Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent (2005) Legal Regime and Business's Organizational Choice: A Comparison of France and the United States during the Mid-Nineteenth Century. American Law and Economics Review, 7 (1). pp. 28-61. ISSN 1465-7252. doi:10.1093/aler/ahi003.

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We compare the law governing business organizational forms in France and the United States during the nineteenth century and find that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the contracting environment in the U.S. was neither freer nor more flexible than in France. U.S. businesses had a more limited menu of organizational choices and also much less ability to adapt the basic forms to meet their needs. Moreover, American law did not evolve any more readily in response to economic change than French law. In both nations, major changes in the rules governing organizational forms required the passage of new statutes.

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Additional Information:© The Author 2005. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Law and Economics Association. This article appears in:Special Issue on Comparative Law, edited by Andrei Shleifer. The authors gratefully acknowledge the research assistance of Clothilde Canavate, Mark Dincecco, and Jennifer Wang, and the financial support of the Collins Fund, the UCLA Academic Senate, and the Guggenheim Foundation. We have also benefited from the advice of Hongbin Cai, Tony Freyer, Robert Gordon, Ron Harris, Timur Kuran, Gregory Mark, and Kenneth L. Sokoloff, as well as the comments of participants at seminars at the École des Hautes Études, Oxford University, Reed College, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Riverside, University of Southern California, and at the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Schools, the annual meeting of the American Society for Legal History, the Business History Conference, and at the CEPER conference on “Understanding Financial Architecture: Corporate Governance.”
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Official Citation:Naomi R. Lamoreaux and Jean-Laurent Rosenthal Legal Regime and Contractual Flexibility: A Comparison of Business’s Organizational Choices in France and the United States during the Era of Industrialization Am Law Econ Rev (Spring 2005) 7 (1): 28-61 doi:10.1093/aler/ahi003
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:65417
Deposited By: Susan Vite
Deposited On:18 Mar 2016 22:28
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:45

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