This talk is based on two papers, available here: and

Abstract: The paper explores the importance of different conceptions of property in the economic theory of firms and corporations. It moves away from the traditional economic theory of property as "residual control rights" and embraces a more nuanced theory of property as "rights that run with the assets". This second conception of property is particularly useful in analyzing the rise of the modern business corporation and was at the center of the "race to Asia" that saw the East India Company (EIC) and its Dutch competitor, the VOC, compete both in trade and in legal innovation. The paper presents both a political economy theory of legal innovation and an historical analysis.


Lunch will be available from 12.30: RSVP to