Principle-agent problems in the French slave trade: the case of Rochelais Armateurs and their agents, 1763-1792
AbstractLa Rochelle, the fourth largest slaving port in France in the eighteenth-century, is used as a case study in the application of agency theory to long-distance trade. This analysis explores an area not accounted for in the literature on French commercial practices. Being broadly couched in a New Institutionalist framework, this study explores the formal and informal institutions designed to curb agency problems, and emphasizes the ex-post strategies such as social rewarding, to which little attention is usually paid. It also finds reputation-effect strategies were efficiently combined with a well-operating legal system. It subsequently challenges the traditional dichotomy between societies where personal links dominated the economy and modern societies where business links are predominantly impersonal. As a result, this empirical analysis leads to a reappraisal of private ordering as opposed to legal centralism and calls for more theoretical research.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 22478.
Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2005
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N0 - Economic History - - General
- B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
- R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
- J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
- O52 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
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