Summary of A History of Corporate Finance

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A History of Corporate Finance book summary
For a survey course on the development of corporate finance, share pricing, government and business relationships, and a variety of business structures — from the successful center firm to the failing LBO — this is History 101, basic but very thorough.


6 Overall

5 Applicability

7 Innovation

6 Style


This thorough, scholarly study balances broad concepts with specific details of the history of finance from the 15th through 20th centuries. Though authors Jonathan Barron Baskin and Paul J. Miranti Jr. assume that the reader has some knowledge of finance and relevant terms, they avoid mathematical models and jargon in favor of plain language. Their book is accessible and valuable to lay readers as well as trained economists, historians, students of finance and anyone coping with an emerging market. The issues they examine remain surprisingly relevant, because - as they soon make clear - the problems that historical markets once confronted are the same issues of risk and information that markets face today, particularly emerging markets. As a historical study, this book presents no particular prescriptions for success or future action. However getAbstract recommends its explanation of why some structures succeeded and others failed, because those forces have clear implications today.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How risk and information have influenced corporate finance over the centuries;
  • What circumstances drove financial innovation through history; and
  • How the rise of railroads fueled the development of modern corporate financing and management structures.


Centuries of Interaction
Two central questions of modern financial theory also shaped finance’s history: the financing question - focusing on the elements that determine a firm’s capital structure - and the dividend question - focusing on factors that control distribution of residual ...
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About the Authors

Barron Baskin was associate professor of Finance at Baruch College from 1985 until his death in 1989. Paul J. Miranti is the associate dean in the faculty of management at Rutgers University.

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