Prof. Ron Harris

Faculty of Law
מנהלת הפקולטה למשפטים סגל אקדמי בכיר
Prof. Ron Harris
Phone: 03-6408283
Another phone: 4952
Fax: 03-6407260
Office: Trubowicz - Law, 335


Ron Harris is the Kalman Lubowsky Professor of Law and History, and former Dean, at the Faculty of Law in Tel-Aviv University.

His main research field is the history of the business corporation. He studies the business corporation in Britain and comparatively, and in the wider context of legal and economic history, the history of industrialization, capitalism, colonialism and globalization. He also works on the history of other forms of business organization (partnerships, commenda, etc.) and of other legal-economic institutions (contracts, property rights, etc.). His additional research interests include the methodology of legal-economic history, the history and policy of bankruptcy and consumer credit, and Israeli legal history.

He earned an LL.B., and B.A. and M.A. in history from TAU and a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. Harris was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (2017-18). He was a visiting professor at UC Berkeley, USC, Cornell University, École Normale Supérieure in Paris, London School of Economics, HEC Business School in Paris and NALSAR Hyderabad and spent extended research periods as a visiting fellow in Oxford. Harris is a co-founder of the Israeli Legal History Association, Honorary Felow of the American Society for Legal History, and the President of the Economic History Association of Israel.

Harris is the author of three books: Going the Distance: Eurasian Trade and the Rise of the Business Corporation, 1400-1700 (2020); Industrializing English Law: Entrepreneurship and Business Organization, 1720 – 1844 (2000); Israeli Law: The Formative Years 1948-1977 (2014). He is the editor of two other books and the author or co-author of numerous articles in economics, business, history and law journals. He is currently working on a book project on the comparative history of private companies in France, Germany, Britain, and the US (with Naomi Lamoreaux, Timothy Guinnane and Jean-Laurent Rosenthal) and on a book tentatively titled Empire Ltd.: Law and the Rise of Multinationals in the First Era of Globalization.

Research Interests and Teaching

Anglo-American Legal and Economic History, History of Business Organizations, Israeli Legal History, Consumer Bankruptcy, Comparative Law


1994 Ph.D., History, Columbia University
1991 M.Phil., History, Columbia University
1989 M.A., History, Tel Aviv University
1987 B.A., History, Tel Aviv University
1987 LL.B., Law, Tel Aviv University


Academic Appointments

2018 Visiting Professor, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, India
2017 - 2018 Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences  (CASBS), Stanford University
2017 Visiting Professor, London School of Economics, Department of Economic History
2012 - 2017 Dean, School of Law, Tel Aviv University
2012 Visiting Professor, HEC Business School, Paris (May)
2011 Visiting Professor, Cornell Law School (Fall)
2008 Visiting Professor, USC Law School
2008 Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies, Jerusalem (March-August)
2006 - 2008

Vice Dean, School of Law, Tel Aviv University

2003 - 2004 Visiting Professor, Boalt Hall School of Law and JSP Program, UC-Berkeley
1997 - 1998 Visiting Scholar, Center for Study of Law and Society, UC-Berkeley
1996 - 1998 Hanadiv Fellow, Rothschild Foundation


Full CV

Representative Publications



Going the Distance: Eurasian Trade and the Rise of the Business Corporation 1400–1700, (Princeton University Press, 2020) Series: Princeton Economic History of the Western World. )2020)


Industrializing English Law: Entrepreneurship and Business Organization, 1720 - 1844 (Cambridge University Press, 2000, Paperback 2010), Series: Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions; Japanese Translation 2013




A new understanding of the history of limited liability: An invitation for theoretical reframingJournal of Institutional Economics, 16(5), 643-664.


Opening the Black Box of the Common-Law Legal Regime:  Contrasts in the Development of Corporate Law in Britain and the United States in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries" with Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Business History, Vol. 61, No. 7, 1199–1221 (2019)


"Contractual Freedom and the Evolution of Corporate Governance in Britain, 1862 to 1929" with Timothy Guinnane and Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Business History Review (2017).


"Spread of legal innovations defining private and public domains” in Larry Neal and in Jeffrey G. Williamson Eds. The Cambridge Economic History of Capitalism Vol. II (Cambridge, 2014)


Non-Recourse Mortgages – A Fresh StartAmerican Bankruptcy Institute Law Review Vol. 21 (1) 119-154 (2013)


The Private Origins of the Private Company: Britain 1862-1907”, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 33 (2): 339-378. (2013)


"The Institutional Dynamics of early Modern Eurasian Trade: The Corporation and the Commenda" Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization Vol. 71 (3) 606-622 (2009)


"Law, Finance and the First Corporations", in James J. Heckman, Robert L. Nelson and Lee Cabatingan, Global Perspectives on the Rule of Law, Routledge (2009)


"Pouvoir et propriété dans l’entreprise ; pour une histoire internationale des sociétés a responsabilité limitée [Ownership and Control in the firm; an International History of Private Limited Companies.] Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales (2008) with Timothy   Guinnane, Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal


"Putting the Corporation in its Place" Enterprise and Society (September 2007) with Timothy Guinnane, Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal


"The Transplantation of a Legal Discourse: Corporate Personality Theories from German Codification to British Political Pluralism and American Big Business", in "UNDERSTANDING CORPORATE LAW THROUGH HISTORY", Theme Issue of Washington and Lee Law Review Volume 63, Fall 2006, Issue 4. p. 1421-1478 (published with two comments)


The Encounters of Economic History and Legal HistoryLaw and History Review Vol. 21 No. 2, 297 - 346 (2003)



Full CV

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