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The Marginalist Revolution In Corporate Finance: 1880-1965, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jul 2011

The Marginalist Revolution In Corporate Finance: 1880-1965, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries fundamental changes in economic thought revolutionized the theory of corporate finance, leading to changes in its legal regulation. The changes were massive, and this branch of financial analysis and law became virtually unrecognizable to those who had practiced it earlier. The source of this revision was the marginalist, or neoclassical, revolution in economic thought. The classical theory had seen corporate finance as an historical, relatively self-executing inquiry based on the classical theory of value and administered by common law courts. By contrast, neoclassical value theory was forward looking and as a result …


Coase, Institutionalism, And The Origins Of Law And Economics, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2011

Coase, Institutionalism, And The Origins Of Law And Economics, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

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Ronald Coase merged two traditions in economics, marginalism and institutionalism. Neoclassical economics in the 1930s was characterized by an abstract conception of marginalism and frictionless resource movement. Marginal analysis did not seek to uncover the source of individual human preference or value, but accepted preference as given. It treated the business firm in the same way, focusing on how firms make market choices, but saying little about their internal workings.

“Institutionalism” historically refers to a group of economists who wrote mainly in the 1920s and 1930s. Their place in economic theory is outside the mainstream, but they have found new …