Contract Enforcement, Institutions and Social Capital: the Maghribi Traders Reappraised
AbstractEconomists draw important lessons for modern development from the medieval Maghribi traders who, it has been argued, enforced contracts collectively through a closed, private-order coalition. We show that this view is untenable. Not a single empirical example adduced as evidence of the putative coalition shows that any coalition actually existed. Furthermore, the Maghribis entered business associations with non-Maghribis and used formal enforcement mechanisms. The Maghribi traders cannot be used to argue that the social capital of exclusive, private-order networks will facilitate exchange in developing economies. Nor do they provide any support for the cultural theories of economic development and institutional change for which they have been mobilised.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0928.
Date of creation: 30 Jul 2009
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Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm
Other versions of this item:
- Jeremy Edwards & Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2012. "Contract enforcement, institutions, and social capital: the Maghribi traders reappraised," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(2), pages 421-444, 05.
- Jeremy Edwards & Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2008. "Contract Enforcement, Institutions and Social Capital: the Maghribi Traders Reappraised," CESifo Working Paper Series 2254, CESifo Group Munich.
- O17 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-08-08 (All new papers)
- NEP-ARA-2009-08-08 (Arab World)
- NEP-SOC-2009-08-08 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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