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date: 15 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the contributions of business historians to the analysis of comparative financial systems. It begins with the responses of historical research to questions raised by economists. The article then goes on to highlight new questions raised by the work of business historians themselves. It gives a short presentation of the debates among economists. Furthermore, the article gives a detailed account of five topics in an historical perspective: the role of firms' self-financing, the role of external finance and the structure of its components, the systemic character of cross-national variations, the historical origins of national financial systems, and the consequences of these differences for economic performances. Finally, the article presents a short concluding section that considers the problem of convergence.

Keywords: financial systems, self-financing, external finance, cross-national variations, economic performances

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