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Law and finance in Britain c.1900

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 October 2019

Christopher Coyle*
Queen's University Belfast
Aldo Musacchio*
Brandeis University
John D. Turner*
Queen's University Belfast
C. Coyle, email: C.coyle@qub
Corresponding author: A. Musacchio, Brandeis International Business School, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA02453, United States; email:
J. Turner, email:


In this article, using new estimates of the size of the UK's capital market, we examine financial development and investor protection laws in Britain c.1900 to test the influential law and finance hypothesis. Our evidence suggests that there was not a close correlation between financial development and investor protection laws c.1900 and that the size of the UK's share market is a puzzle given the paucity of statutory investor protection. To illustrate that Britain was not unique in its approach to investor protection in this era, we examine investor protection laws across legal families c.1900.

Copyright © European Association for Banking and Financial History e.V. 2019

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The authors would like to thank Claire Gilbert for her research assistance. We would also like to thank Dan Bogart, Mike Bordo, Lakshmi Iyer, Noel Maurer, Hugh Rockoff, Gail Triner, Eugene White, two anonymous referees and seminar participants at Universidad Carlos III, in Madrid, ITAM, Mexico City, and Rutgers for their comments and suggestions.


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