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Contracts, Hold-Up, and Exports: Textiles and Opium in Colonial India

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  • Rachel Kranton
  • Anand V. Swamy

Abstract

Trade and export, it is argued, spur economic growth. This paper studies the microeconomics of exporting. We build a heuristic model of transactions between exporters and producers and relate it to East India Company (EIC) operations in colonial Bengal. Our model and the historical record stress two difficulties: the exporter and its agents might not uphold payment agreements, and producers might not honor sales contracts. The model shows when procurement succeeds or fails, highlighting the tension between these two hold-up problems. We analyze several cases, including the EIC's cotton textile venture, the famous Opium Monopoly, and present-day contract farming.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.98.3.967
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 98 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 967-89

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:3:p:967-89

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.967
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Cited by:
  1. Balat, Jorge & Brambilla, Irene & Porto, Guido, 2009. "Realizing the gains from trade: Export crops, marketing costs, and poverty," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 21-31, June.
  2. Delpeuch, Claire & Vandeplas, Anneleen, 2011. "Revisiting the "Cotton Problem" - A Comparative Analysis of Cotton Reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114446, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  3. Depetris Chauvin, Nicolas & Porto, Guido G., 2011. "Market Competition in Export Cash Crops and Farm Income," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126159, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  4. Swinnen Johan & Vandeplas Anneleen, 2012. "Rich Consumers and Poor Producers: Quality and Rent Distribution in Global Value Chains," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-30, January.
  5. Rocco Macchiavello, 2009. "Vertical Integration and Investor Protection in Developing Countries," Working Papers 2009.86, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. Deb, Rahul & Suri, Tavneet, 2013. "Endogenous emergence of credit markets: Contracting in response to a new technology in Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 268-283.
  7. Macchiavello, Rocco, 2010. "Development Uncorked: Reputation Acquisition in the New Market for Chilean Wines in the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 7698, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Madestam, Andreas, 2014. "Informal finance: A theory of moneylenders," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 157-174.
  9. Rocco Macchiavello, 2007. "Vertical Integration, Missing Middle and Investor Protection in Developing Countries," Economics Series Working Papers 373, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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