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Are the Roots of the Modern Lex Mercatoria Really Medieval?

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Author Info

  • Oliver Volckart
  • Antje Mangels

Abstract

This article analyzes how trade was conducted between the tenth and thirteenth centuries. We claim that, as most exchange was simultaneous, differences between law codes did not pose a substantial problem and that mercantile guilds developed not to provide institutions comparable to the modern lex mercatoria, but rather to supply physical security. The development of nonsimultaneous exchange was made possible predominantly by the emergence of urban autonomy and urban law applicable to all merchants trading within town, so it appears that the importance of universally accepted commercial institutions in the Middle Ages has hitherto been vastly overrated.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 65 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 (January)
Pages: 427-450

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:65:3:y:1999:p:427-450

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Web page: http://www.southerneconomic.org/
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Cited by:
  1. Guha, Brishti, 2012. "Who will monitor the monitors? Informal law enforcement and collusion at Champagne," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 261-277.
  2. Dessi, Roberta & Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2003. "Social Capital and Collusion : The Case of Merchant Guilds," IDEI Working Papers 214, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  3. Masten, S.E. & Prüfer, J., 2011. "On the Evolution of Collective Enforcement Institutions: Communities and Courts," Discussion Paper 2011-074, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Peter Leeson, 2007. "Efficient anarchy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 41-53, January.
  5. Roberta Dessì & Salvatore Piccolo, 2008. "Two is Company, N is a Crowd? Merchant Guilds and Social Capital," CSEF Working Papers 202, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 12 Jul 2009.
  6. Jeremy Edwards & Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2011. "What Lessons for Economic Development Can We Draw from the Champagne Fairs?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3438, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Prüfer, J., 2012. "Business Associations and Private Ordering," Discussion Paper 2012-011, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
  8. Angelucci, Charles & Meraglia, Simone, 2013. "Trade, Self-Governance,and the Provision of Law and Order, with an Application To Medieval English Chartered Towns," TSE Working Papers 13-443, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  9. Volckart, Oliver, 2000. "The open constitution and its enemies: competition, rent seeking, and the rise of the modern state," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-17, May.
  10. Aspers, Patrik, 2009. "How are markets made?," MPIfG Working Paper 09/2, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  11. Ogilvie, Sheilagh & Carus, A.W., 2014. "Institutions and Economic Growth in Historical Perspective," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 8, pages 403-513 Elsevier.
  12. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2007. "'Whatever Is, Is Right'?, Economic Institutions in Pre-Industrial Europe (Tawney Lecture 2006)," CESifo Working Paper Series 2066, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Volckart, Oliver, 2004. "The economics of feuding in late medieval Germany," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 282-299, July.

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