Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published January 2013 | public
Journal Article

Beyond the Shadow of the Law: Firm Insolvency, State-Building, and the New Policy Bankruptcy Reform in Late Qing Chongqing


This paper modifies the historical assessment of the 1906 Qing Bankruptcy Code by proposing a new approach to the history of commercial dispute resolution. It argues that the Qing bankruptcy reform cannot be understood by evaluating only published sources, and that a thorough understanding of dispute mediation techniques must serve as a foundation for assessing the historical importance of the law. It offers a description of Qing insolvency dispute practices by providing an analysis of cases from the Ba county archives. The results of that analysis suggest that, although the Qing Bankruptcy Code was repealed soon after its introduction, the reform ambitions behind the new legislation were realized through the implementation of another New Policy reform, which allowed chambers of commerce to resolve bankruptcy disputes differently. This conclusion suggests that the basic vision of the Qing economic reforms of the New Policy movement had more of a lasting impact than has been assumed to date.

Additional Information

© 2013 Brill Academic Publishers. The author would like to thank R. Bin Wong, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, Richard von Glahn, Andrea Goldman, and Naomi Lamoreaux for their feedback. This research was conducted with support from the Fulbright-Hays program and the UCLA Center for Economic History.

Additional details

August 19, 2023
October 20, 2023