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The Return to Capital in the British Motor Vehicle Industry 1896–1939

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The article reconsiders the mid-1890s boom in which a large number of firms in the bicycle, pneumatic tyre and related industries were floated. It investigates why so many of these issues featured aristocratic directors in their prospectuses and finds that they represented social connections that were a necessary condition for regional industrial firms to gain a London listing. The case shows that the role and value of these directors was to access capital markets and financial resources, as opposed to a temporary aberration designed to inflate share prices and mislead investors.
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In Scale and Scope , Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., sets out a complex and sustained interpretation of “the dynamics of industrial capitalism.” His work, the culmination of decades of study, spanning three major economies (the United States, Great Britain, and Germany) from the 1880s to the 1940s, will undoubtedly be a central point of reference for all business historians for a very long time to come. More than that, it also makes contributions to, and has wide implications for, a great variety of fields of scholarship, research, and debate. It is hard to imagine any single book review that could do justice to the scale and the scope of Chandler's work.
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This article examines the new institutional approach to explaining Britain's relative economic decline during the twentieth century. The Elbaum-Lazonick thesis that business performance was constrained by 'corporate lag' behind the US provides the focus of critical attention. It also serves as a reference point for assessing alternative formulations of institutional rigidities advanced by Olson, Newton and Porter, and Broadberry and Crafts. It is argued that the Elbaum-Lazonick thesis underestimates the vigour and flexibility of British business since 1900, overestimates the relevance of advanced corporate forms to Britain's business structure, and fails to comprehend the importance of demand-side constraints on business performance. The article concludes that institutional factors are of relevance in explaining relative decline but that the current emphasis on corporate structures should be supplemented by analysis of the competitive environment facing British business.
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This article examines foreign multinations in British industry before 1945, making use of a data base of 125 investments. Foreign-owned companies were a major influence on certain industries, including electrical engineering, telecommunications, cars, and some consumer products. They were successful in Britain because they possessed advantages over local competitors, especially in management structure and technology. the size of the British market and trade barriers encouraged local manufacture. Foreign multinations introduced new technologies and methods, and sometimes they increased competition and improved labour management practices. Their major contribution may have been to stimulate some British business to a renewed vitality
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Utilising a new sample of interwar initial public offerings (IPOs), I consider the effectiveness of the interwar stock market for firms going public. Consistent with the pecking order theory, IPO proceeds contributed only modestly to domestic industry's capital expenditure needs. IPOs of capital-hungry new manufacturing industries raised no more finance than did the rest of manufacturing. This was in part attributable to the detrimental effect of weak financial regulation on investor appetite for newer, riskier enterprises. In terms of the quality of firms allowed onto the market, IPO survival rates of the early and late 1920s were shockingly low, just as earlier research has shown. However, survival rates rebounded strongly in the following decade due not only to the economic recovery but also to tougher scrutiny of listing applications by the London Stock Exchange.
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This article aims to describe and explain the spatial evolution of the automobile sector in Great Britain from an evolutionary perspective. This analysis is based on a unique database of all entries and exits in this sector during the period 1895–1968, collected by the authors. Cox regressions show that spinoff dynamics, agglomeration economies and time of entry have had a significant effect on the survival rate of automobile firms during the period 1895–1968. Copyright 2007 , Oxford University Press.
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The recent growth of creative industries has raised the interest of both policy makers and academic scholars. However, we know very little about the forces that drive the development and geography of these industries. This dissertation provides an in-depth study of the industrial dynamics and spatial evolution of the global fashion design industry as a prime example of a creative industry. By adopting an evolutionary economic perspective, we analyse the determinants of firm competitiveness and spatial concentration in Paris, New York, London and Milan. Special attention is paid to the Dutch fashion industry and Amsterdam as an emerging second-tier fashion city. The main conclusion holds that firms derive their success from the labour market experience of the founder and key employees rather than from the urban environments they operate in. As such, this study provides an alternative view on spatial clustering in creative industries.
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This article is being published posthumously, following the tragic death of Dr Harrison on 11 December 1980. Shortly before his death he had completed his major study of the pre-1914 British cycle industry, from which the present article is taken. A further article will be published in a future issue.