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Joint Stock Company births: historical coincidence and economic causality (Greece, 1830-1909)

Pepelasis, Ioanna Sapfo and Emmanouilidi, Elpianna (2013): Joint Stock Company births: historical coincidence and economic causality (Greece, 1830-1909).

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Research on the history of incorporation has focused on advanced countries. This paper differs in that it examines gross joint stock company (JSC) births in Greece, a latecomer country and uses a new dataset constructed from the charters of JSCs. We map evolution in the number, capital, and sectors of JSC start-ups founded between 1830 and 1909 and show that peaks in JSC birth counts coincided with big events. We also use empirical time series analysis and explore whether a causation mechanism existed between the meso-phenomenon of incorporation and the macro-level process of economic growth. For this purpose we employ time series macro-indicators (GDP and in particular agricultural GDP). Our main empirical finding is that a ‘virtuous circle’ was at work. Namely, agricultural surplus provided the financial resources for joint stock company births, and the latter enhanced the enlargement of the avant-garde margin in services and industry which in turn ‘pushed forward’ agricultural and in consequence total GDP.

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