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Corporate ownership and control in Victorian Britain

Acheson, Graeme G.; Campbell, Gareth; Turner, John D.; Vanteeva, Nadia

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Graeme G. Acheson

Gareth Campbell

John D. Turner


© Economic History Society 2014. 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.


Acheson, G. G., Campbell, G., Turner, J. D., & Vanteeva, N. (2015). Corporate ownership and control in Victorian Britain. Economic History Review, 68(3), 911-936.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Nov 10, 2014
Publication Date Aug 1, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2019
Journal Economic History Review
Print ISSN 1468-0289
Electronic ISSN 1468-0289
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 68
Issue 3
Pages 911-936
Keywords corporate, ownership, control, Victorian Britain
Public URL
Publisher URL


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