A Real Hostage Model

13 April 2010 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

| Peter Klein |

Forget Williamson (1983). Check out Randall Morck and Fan Yang’s analysis of the 19th-century banks Shanxi, China. These banks featured a dual-class equity structure and, to mitigate agency problems created by entrenched insiders, not only gave insiders few voting rights, but also allowed outsiders to enslave insiders’ wives and children and hold their relatives as hostages. As Morck and Yang observe, with dry humor: “Modern civil libertarians might question some of these governance innovations, but others provide lessons to modern corporations, regulators, and lawmakers.”

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Entry filed under: - Klein -, Corporate Governance, Management Theory, Theory of the Firm.

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