ISRELIM (1450-2010)

The Impact of Limited-Liability Business Organizations across the Mediterranean: Italy, Turkey and Spain (1445-2010). [ISRELIM: 1445-2010]



This research is funded by Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad (Project HAR2013-42013-R).

The aim of this project is to analyse which types of business organisation are most favourable to economic development, and the conditions under which they arose. Our hypothesis
is that “limited liability” has been a key concept in the development of the capitalist model from its very first appearance in the 15th century right up to the present day, where it is undeniably a predominant feature.

Simply put, if a company´s owners have limited liability, it means that they are risking only a specific amount of their capital in the investment, not all their personal wealth. The general
rule when doing business up until the 19th century was that all owners of a firm should use their personal assets as a guarantee to third parties. The changes made to both firm models and social mentality were to have implications, not only for how business was conceived, but also for its economic and social impact.

The scope of study is ambitious: the Mediterranean, singling out the cases of Italy, Turkey and Spain. The timeline spans 500 years: from the appearance of “limited contracts” (15th century) to
the most recent EU directives regarding companies.

Regarding the National Science “R&D and Technological Innovation Plan- Challenges faced by Society”, we focus on Challenge 6: Social Changes and Innovation,Section IV Innovation, technical change, progress and well-being, Sub- section (i) New Organisational Models. Our proposal delves into how, when and why certain business organisation forms appeared and were successful.

Our research team members are:

Seven Agir (Middle East Technical University

Timothy Guinane (Yale University)

Francesca Trivellato (Yale University)

Delfina Roca (University of Murcia)

Susana Martínez-Rodríguez (University of Murcia)



TV. Scientific Culture Section-University of Murcia (Unidad de Cultura Científica-Universidad de Murcia)


RESEARCH PAPERS with Impact Factor:

GUINNANE, T.; MARTÍNEZ-RODRÍGUEZ, S. 2014. Flexibility in the Spanish Company Law, 1885-1936. Revista de Historia Industrial, v. 56, 81-113.

GUINNANE, T.; MARTÍNEZ-RODRÍGUEZ, S. (2018) “Choice of Enterprise Form: Spain, 1886-1936.” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 34(1), 1-26.

GUINNANE, T.; MARTÍNEZ-RODRÍGUEZ, S. (2018) “Instructions not Included: Spain´s Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada, 1919-1936.” European Journal of Economic History, 22, 462-482 MARTÍNEZ-RODRÍGUEZ, S. (2016). Creating the Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada: The Use of Legal Flexibility in the Spanish Company Law, 1869-1953. Business History Review 90(2), 227-249.

MARTÍNEZ-RODRÍGUEZ, S. (2019): “Mistresses of Company Capital: Female Partners in Multiowner Firms, Spain (1886-1936), Business History (accepted):

MARTÍNEZ SOTO, AP; MARTÍNEZ-RODRÍGUEZ, S. (2015). Graneries (pósitos): a source of finance for Spain´s small farmers, 1900-1950. Continuity and Change. V. 30, n. 2, 251-277.


AGIR, S. (2017). “‘Hukuk ve İktisat’ Perspektifinden Milli İktisat Mirasını Yeniden Düşünmek,” in Geçmişten Geleceğe Türkiye Ekonomisi, co-authored with Semih Gökatalay, in (eds.) Mıhçı and Comert, Istanbul: Iletisim, 2

MARTÍNEZ-RODRÍGUEZ, S. 2018.“History of Corporations in Spain in the 20th Century: Towards Europe.” In Wells, Harwell. Research Handbook on the History of Corporate and Company Law, Edward Edgar, 298-322,

MARTÍNEZ-RODRÍGUEZ, S. (2019): “¿Deben trabajar las mujeres en las fábricas? El debate de la Escuela Economista (1861)”, In Selma, Alejandra. Retos en materia de igualdad de género en el siglo XXI, 159-173.