Politics and Industrialization: Early Railroads in the
United States and Prussia (Princeton University
- Co-winner of the
Thomas Newcomen Award for the best book published in business
history in the years 1992-1994.
- Explores the multifaceted ways in which two
distinctive political structures -- federal, legislative in
the U.S. and centralized, bureaucratic in Prussia -- shaped
the contours of the early railroad industry.
- Argues, in a
nutshell, that the political structure of the supposedly
"weak" American state:
greater government intervention in early railroad development;
greater technological diversity;
efforts of American railroad men to organize their
disorganized and fragmented the
American industry until the locus of regulatory power
shifted to the national level in the 1880s.
Prussian structure, in contrast:
Prussian officials to take a hands-off stance toward
- encouraged greater technological
uniformity from the outset;
- spurred Prussian
railroads to organize themselves;
- thus enabling
them to create a truly national railroad system much earlier.
image for full view
Shareholder Democracy: The
Forgotten History (under contract with Harvard University Press/Harvard Business
hope to complete the book manuscript in 2009.
- Draws attention to corporate
governance as a much-neglected area of research in business
- Uncovers surprisingly democratic traditions of corporate
governance -- especially shareholder voting rights -- in the
U.S. as well as in Britain, France, and the Germanies in the 1830s-1840s.
- Contrasts the persistence of
these traditions in Europe with their rapid demise in the
U.S., where plutocratic voting rights prevailed by the 1880s
-- thus making possible the Great Merger Movement at the turn
of the century.
- The book manuscript is in preparation.
On a portion of the underlying research, click the link at
left to "Corporations."
Policy Matters: Business Organization and Technological Change in
the United States and Germany, 1870s-1910s (under contract
with Johns Hopkins University Press).
- Explores everyday industrial policies (tariff, patent, antitrust,
labor, taxation, etc.) in the U.S. and Germany and their impact on strategic
decision-making by American and German firms.
the consequences of those decisions (e.g., to form cartels or
to engage in mergers) for the process of technological change
(e.g., in steel or electrical manufacturing).
I was finishing the railroad book, I began the research for
this one, then discovered that I needed to know much more
about nineteenth-century corporate governance and that the
literature was virtually non-existent. When I finish the
corporate governance books, I plan to return to this one.
Next? Possibly something
on the American Civil War and Franco-Prussian War or a collection of essays on government and the economy in American history.