Research Handbook on the History of Corporate and Company Law
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Research Handbook on the History of Corporate and Company Law

Edited by Harwell Wells

Understanding the corporation means understanding its legal framework, but until recently the origins and evolution of corporate law have received relatively little attention. The topical chapters featured in this Research Handbook, contributed by leading scholars from around the world, examine the historical development of corporation and business organization law in the Americas, Europe, and Asia from the ancient world to modern times, providing an invaluable resource for both further historical research and scholars seeking the origins of present-day issues.
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Chapter 10: Classes of shares and voting rights in the history of Italian corporate law

Giulio Sandrelli and Marco Ventoruzzo

Abstract

Chapter 10 examines the evolution of modern Italian corporate law by focusing on share classes and voting rights. From a variegated voting and class system in the nineteenth century, the authors show convergence during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century towards a one-share, one-vote norm, followed later in the century by a countercurrent marked by increased flexibility in voting arrangements and eventual elimination of a ban on multiple voting shares. Along the way the authors demonstrate that these developments were not only produced by internal dynamics of corporation law but by larger national and international developments—‘competition among European jurisdictions, circulation of legal models internationally, … a growing faith in market efficiency and [in] the ability of contractual freedom to adopt the most efficient solution’.

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