Entrepreneurial Dynasties

Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life book series (PSFL)


The Industrial Revolution gave rise to a new high-status echelon in the nineteenth century. One part of this tier was entrepreneurial dynasties, in which immensely rich companies were passed down in the family in successive generations. There were also smaller entrepreneurial dynasties that exercised local power and influence. But the top ten entrepreneurial dynasties under scrutiny are huge international business conglomerations: Krupp, Rothschild, Warburg, Morgan, Rockefeller, Ford, Vanderbilt, Agnelli, Wallenberg and Herlin. In some of these dynasties marriages followed the principles of status equivalence—rich entrepreneurs married rich entrepreneurs’ offspring—and there were even frequent cousin marriages, whereas in some others preference was given to marriages into noble families. This marked the establishment of status equivalence between opulent entrepreneurs and nobles. In the late twentieth century, dynasticity was losing its former strength.


Family Firm Marriage Market Ford Motor Company Status Hierarchy Protestant Ethic 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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