The performance of European enterprise during the twentieth century : general overview
Title: The performance of European enterprise during the twentieth century : general overview
Citation: Youssef CASSIS, Andres COLLI and Harm G. SCHRÖTER (eds), The performance of European business in the twentieth century, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 3-20
This chapter provides an introduction to and summary of the first attempt at measuring European business performance over the entire twentieth century on a common basis of data. In doing so, it adopts a new approach to European business history. Based on a single sample of 1,225 companies, from eight European economies (Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, and Finland), it describes the basic questions dealt with by the various authors of this book in their chapters. Performance has been measured in terms of return on equity (ROE) and holding return (HR), thus providing a complementary measure of profitability, the former from the firm’s perspective, the latter from the investor’s perspective. The findings are summarized and compared. The results are sometimes surprising, at once confirming and challenging widely held assumptions regarding business performance—regarding strategy and structure, ownership and control, old and new industries, and emerging and advanced economies.
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