Course Description



LE - 15

This course will examine the historical and economic evolution of business, focused in particular on the American corporation, and how its growth was inextricably intertwined with the development of the American form of capitalism. Careful attention will be paid to how social, intellectual, and economic forces affected the transformation of American corporate law from the colonial periods onwards. Students will evaluate academic debates about whether the Delaware corporation’s particular structure owes more to neoclassical models of economic efficiency, or to historical accident and path-dependent evolution. The course will also engage a number of contemporary controversies regarding the role of corporation in modern society, which could include the changing nature of work and labor; debates over for whose benefit the corporation exists (including debates over shareholder versus stakeholder models of the corporation); the role of regulation; and the rise of institutional investors as the central force constraining corporate behavior.