The Royal African Company, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the East India Company used both owned and hired ships in their seventeenth and eighteenth century trading operations. Why such critical assets were sometimes owned and sometimes rented is explored. Contrary to economic reasoning, ship rentals occurred in shipping markets that were uncompetitive. The use of hired ships was correlated instead to market power in the companies’ selling or output markets. The pattern of ship ownership can be attributed to the close social proximity of shipowners to decision-makers in the companies. By modeling the input hiring decision while allowing for variation in the competitiveness of output markets, it is argued that rent-seeking behavior on the part of company insiders may explain the ownership patterns.
Special thanks to Barbara McCutcheon for her contributions early in the project.
Hejeebu, S. (2015), "Own, Rent, or Rent-Seek?: Vertical Integration in Historical Chartered Monopolies", Chartering Capitalism: Organizing Markets, States, and Publics (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 29), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 177-206. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0198-871920150000029008
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