This project examines how business organizations evolved in the European periphery by focusing on the organizational form and economic performance of enterprises formed in Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic during 1850-1950. The objective is to explore the relationship between organizational law, entrepreneurial choice, and economic performance in a case study where the dominance of foreign capital and legal borrowing is evident. The researcher will create a database including the number and types of firms by using hitherto unexamined archival resources in the Prime Ministry's archives in Istanbul and the Republican Archives in Ankara. This database will be used to explore the relationship between business law and economic change through statistical analysis and a historical survey of commercial law, in particular incorporation laws. First, the evolution of business enterprises and how they performed in the Turkish/Ottoman context will be evaluated with a view to other cases that have been more extensively examined such as France and Spain. This comparative analysis will be used to assess competing theories about the origins and implications of different forms of business organization. Second, historical evidence on the choice of business form will be examined against the background of changes in social, political, and legal institutions. This will help us reconsider dominant views about historical roots of the region’s economic backwardness, i.e. the theories about the heritage of the authoritarian rule or the Islamic legal system. Through both channels, the project will provide insights for the current challenges posed by global processes which require recognition of institutional dissonance and seek tools for harmonization and economic integration.
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