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The merchant houses of Stockholm, c. 1640-1800: A comparative study of early-modern entrepreneurial behaviour
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.
1998 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis analyses the entrepreneurial behaviour of the Stockholm merchants in the early-modern period. Two merchant families, the Momma-Reenstiernas (1640-80) and the Grills (1730-1800), are studied and compared, with the aim of tracing the typical pattern of the entrepreneurial behaviour and how it changed between the mid-seventeenth and the mid-eighteenth centuries. In contrast to the traditional economic understanding of entrepreneurship, its social aspects are pointed out here. The entrepreneurial behaviour is seen in two time-spans: the short time-span of everyday business and the long time-span of long-term decisions and investments. In the long term, the entrepreneurial behaviour was basically motivated by social reproduction and not by the profitability of the business.

The two cases studied reveal three significant features of entrepreneurial behaviour. Monopolistic practices appear to have been the typical entrepreneurial strategy of the Momma-Reenstiernas and their contemporaries. By 1670, the Momma-Reenstiernas had succeeded - together with the related Kock-Cronström family - in monopolising the Swedish brass industry and trade. On the other hand, monopolistic practices do not appear to have been typical of the firm of Carlos & Claes Grill. The Grills took part in the launching of monopoly companies, but these activities were usually joint actions by the wholesale merchant community of Stockholm (the so-called "quayside nobility"). Another typical feature of the early-modern, entrepreneurial behaviour was the building-up of durable and reliable social networks. The role of the social networks did not change during the period studied. The third feature of the early-modern, entrepreneurial behaviour concerns the risk management. The Momma-Reenstiernas diminished risks by controlling not only the exchange but also the production and transport of commodities. The Grills spread the risks among different business sectors and forms of investment. This difference is explained by the different conditions of trade in the mid-seventeenth and mid-eighteenth centuries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 1998. , 303, [6] p.
Studia Historica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0081-6531 ; 188
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-888ISBN: 91-554-4233-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-888DiVA: diva2:172156
Public defence
1998-06-05, universitetets lärosal IX, Uppsala universitet, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 1998-05-15 Created: 1998-05-15Bibliographically approved

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