By Randall K. Morck
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Additional resources for A History of Corporate Governance around the World: Family Business Groups to Professional Managers
These highproﬁle collapses appear to have linked the Depression with highly concentrated corporate control in the public mind, justifying a barrage of progressive reform. The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 pared commercial from investment banking. The Public Utility Company Holding Companies Act of 1935 forbade pyramidal control of utility companies. A series of regulatory reforms governing banks, insurance companies, mutual funds, and pension funds prevented any of these organizations from accumulating any serious corporate governance inﬂuence either.
This was perhaps better than a liquidating dividend since the seller need not wait for the company’s ﬁxed lifetime to expire. Nonetheless, vociferous shareholder complaints about inadequate disclosure and dividend payouts continued and are preserved in the company archives. Other widely held ﬁrms followed suit, and the Dutch stock markets remained Europe’s ﬁnancial heart for a century. Among other things, spillovers from the series of French ﬁnancial crises, which Murphy discusses in chapter 3, undermined Dutch investors’ conﬁdence in ﬁnancial markets—slowly through the eighteenth century, and then quite rapidly during the French occupation (1795–1813).
This preserved its prewar system of pyramidal groups. The corporate governance of large Canadian ﬁrms changed only gradually over the subsequent decades. Britain, France, and the Netherlands also seem to have preserved their pre-Depression systems of corporate governance. Another example arises in connection with India and other postcolonial economies. Das (2002) and others argue that intellectual fashions at the London School of Economics adversely aﬀected India’s economic policies, including corporate governance.