Lessons from history: the emergence of the corporate form

Dari-Mattiacci, Gelderblom, Jonker & Perotti in the Journal of Law, Economics & Organization on the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC)

In a recent article, published in the Journal of Law, Economics & Organization (the article can be consulted here), DARI-MATTIACCI, GELDERBLOM, JONKER and PEROTTI describe the emergence of the corporate form during the 17th century. In doing so, they put important insights from other authors (HANSMANN, KRAAKMAN and SQUIRE, click here and BLAIR, click here) in an historical perspective. Professor DARI-MATTIACCI, one of the authors, held in 2015 at the KU Leuven the first Heremans Lecture on “The new economics of property rights. Unlocking the fundamental features and the historical emergence of the business corporation “, discussing a draft of this article.

Their research shows the corporate form to be a legal innovation, meeting the practical needs of oversees trade and appearing first in the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The partnership form and contractual commitments of capital did not provide the durability needed for oversees trade with Asia at the end of the 16th century. Continue reading “Lessons from history: the emergence of the corporate form”