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Coordination, compensation and the expansion of trade: The merchant guilds revisited

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  • Harbord, David
  • Fehr, Nils Henrik von der

Abstract

Greif, Milgrom and Weingast (1994) argued that the ability of the merchant guilds to encourage trade expansion required an internal mechanism to enforce compliance to trade embargoes, otherwise credible incentives for "embargo breaking" would have rendered them ine¤ectual. We show that sustaining e¢ cient trade implied an ability of the guilds to restrict their membership but no internal enforcement mechanism was necessary. Our reformulation of the guilds´ strategies - based on the historical evidence - makes trade embargoes self-enforcing and allows us to provide a richer picture of how the guilds could have facilitated trade expansion by controlling merchant trading activities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 40992.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:40992

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Keywords: medieval trade; coordination; guilds;

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  1. Harbord, David, 2006. "Enforcing cooperation among medieval merchants: The Maghribi traders revisited," MPRA Paper 1889, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Ogilvie,Sheilagh, 2011. "Institutions and European Trade," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747929, April.
  3. Dessi, Roberta & Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2004. "The Political Economy of Merchant Guilds: Commitment or Collusion ?," IDEI Working Papers 278, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. Aramendia, Miguel & Larrea, Concepcion & Ruiz, Luis, 2005. "Renegotiation in the repeated Cournot model," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-19, July.
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