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Mary O'Sullivan
Dividends of Development: Securities Markets in the History of US Capitalism, 1866-1922


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Today the US economy is seen as an archetype of a capitalist system in which securities markets play a crucial role. Dividends of Development explains how US securities markets became central to the institutional fabric of US capitalism during the period from the Civil War through World War I. The book shows that the development of US securities markets occurred through a process that was volatile and time-consuming, unscripted by powerful actors, and driven, above all else, by the dramatic but unstable character of the nation's economic development. These claims about the trajectory, the operation, and the underlying dynamics of the development of US securities markets are brought together in a novel synthesis that portrays the historical evolution of securities markets in the United States as the "dividends" of the country's distinctive trajectory of economic development.
Mary O'Sullivan is Professor of Economic History in, and chair of, the Department of History, Economics and Society at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She was a fellow of the Berlin Social Science Center in 2016-2017, where she worked on a new project called "A Blind Spot in the History of Capitalism: The Shifting Roles of Capital."
Selected publications
  • O'Sullivan, M.: A Confusion of Capital in the United States. In: Pat Hudson and Keith Tribe (eds.), The Contradictions of Capital in the Twenty-First Century: The Piketty Opportunity. Agenda Publishing, 131-165, 2016.
  • O'Sullivan, M.: Dividends of Development: Fits and Starts in the History of U.S. Securities Markets, 1865-1919. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2016.
  • O'Sullivan, M.: Contests for Corporate Control: Corporate Governance and Economic Performance in the United States and Germany.Oxford: Oxford University Press 2000.
  • O'Sullivan, M.: A Fine Failure: Relationship Lending, Moses Taylor, and the Joliet Iron and Steel Company, 1869–1888. Business History Review, Winter 2014 (winner of the 2014 Henrietta Larson Award for the best article in the Business History Review)..
  • O'Sullivan, M.: Yankee Doodle went to London: Anglo-American Breweries and the London Securities Market, 1888-1892. Economic History Review 2015.
  • O'Sullivan, M.: Acting Out Institutional Change: Understanding the Recent Transformation of the French Financial System. Socio-Economic Review 5(3), 389-436, 2007.
  • O'Sullivan, M. and Lazonick, W.: Maximizing Shareholder Value: a New Ideology for Corporate Governance. Economy and Society 29(1), 13-35, 2000.
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