The business corporation and the modern state both emerged very late in human history, but quickly became sociopolitically and economically prominent once they did emerge. Taisu Zhang and his co-author from Yale Law School focus on the genesis of the corporation to explore the links between these two institutions. Unlike preexisting theories that view the relationship between the two as a predominantly negative one—that the state’s primary role in the rise of the corporation was to credibly constrain its own use of coercive power—they argue that the state also positively contributed to the corporation’s emergence. In fact, the modern state’s positive contributions were so significant that they were likely indispensable: it is no coincidence that the business corporation did not become socioeconomically prominent until after the ascendancy of modern state building.
Taisu Zhang and his co-author first argue that there will be significant demand for the modern corporate form only after complex, long-duration business collaboration between strangers becomes economically prominent. They then argue that, within the context of trans-communal business relationships, the business corporation can only emerge with robust institutional support from a sufficiently modern state, in the form of legal enforcement, dispute resolution, and information sharing. In this Quantitative History Webinar, Taisu Zhang explores the argument that modern state building is necessary to the success of the modern corporation because the law that enables corporations requires uniform enforcement.
Taisu's co-author: John Morley (Yale Law School)
Live on Zoom on July 8, 2021
09:00 Hong Kong/Beijing/Singapore
10:00 Tokyo | 11:00 Sydney
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Photo credit: ©The Trustees of the British Museum. Object/P_1858-0213-86-37 is released under a Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.
About the Quantitative History Webinar Series
The Quantitative History Webinar Series, convened by Professor Zhiwu Chen and Dr. Chicheng Ma of The University of Hong Kong (HKU), aims to provide researchers, teachers and students with an online intellectual platform to keep up to date with the latest research in the field, promoting the dissemination of research findings and interdisciplinary use of quantitative methods in historical research. The Series is co-organized by the International Society for Quantitative History, HKU Business School, and the Asia Global Institute (AGI).
Professor Zhiwu Chen
Dr. Chicheng Ma
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