Article: "Unlimiting Unlimited Liability: Legal Equality for Swedish Banks with Alternative Shareholder Liability Regimes, 1897–1903"
Anders Ögren has toghether with Seán Kenny from the University of Lunds written the article "Unlimiting Unlimited Liability: Legal Equality for Swedish Banks with Alternative Shareholder Liability Regimes, 1897–1903", published in Business History Review.
Read the article on Cambridge University Press (cambridge.org)
This article examines the aftermath of the 1897 Riksbank Act in Swedish banking. The act placed banks with unlimited liability and those with limited liability on equal footing, removing the note-issuing privileges of the former. We consider whether changes in risk preferences occurred subsequent to the act, or whether extended liability was a sufficient deterrent. We conclude that when legal differences were removed, lower transaction costs for unlimited liability banks (ULBs) spurred aggressive competition, reflected in narrower interest spreads relative to limited liability banks (LLBs). ULBs also took on greater leverage and held less liquidity, which supports the Coasean interpretation that the shareholder liability regime mattered little. After 1897, ULB shareholders continued to receive higher dividends, enjoyed substantially superior returns on equity, and maintained an array of corporate governance controls to shield themselves against their additional risk.