Path Dependence in Ports: Path Dependence in Ports: The Persistence of Cooperative Forms
Posted: 13 Mar 2008
The concept of path dependence is used to compare the evolution of the organizational forms of two groups of transportation and warehousing firms, the Dutch vemen and the Antwerp naties, that operated in seaports between c.1500 and 1900 and beyond. Their adoption of cooperative forms reflected the corporative guild creed that prevailed in early modern European cities. After 1815, when their businesses were no longer regulated by local governments, the vemen and naties remained locked into the cooperative form of governance that had prevailed for so long. This organizational form gradually adapted to changing circumstances, but its egalitarian structure remained intact until the late nineteenth century (vemen), and even into the twentieth century (naties). The two groups of firms' organizational forms evolved differently under the impact of the legacy of the early modern period and the weight of their later own distinctive experiences.
JEL Classification: L81, L91, L92, N73
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