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Incentives in Merchant Empires: Portuguese and Dutch Compensation Schemes

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  • Claudia Rei

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

Abstract

The Portuguese and Dutch merchant empires had a similar geographic distribution with outposts all around the Indian Ocean, which they controlled and manned. Both empires faced the same problem of monitoring their agents in remote corners of the world. Each, however, arrived at a different solution to the monitoring problem. I use a principal-agent model to link different monitoring options to the different organizational structures of the two empires. I further investigate the implications of the model with archival data on labor compensation for Portuguese and Dutch workers overseas.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu11-w12.pdf
File Function: First version, September 2011
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 1112.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:1112

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Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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Keywords: merchant empires; labor compensation; monitoring;

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  1. Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
  2. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
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  4. Rei, Claudia, 2011. "The organization of Eastern merchant empires," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 116-135, January.
  5. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
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  7. Joanne Salop & Steve Salop, 1976. "Self-selection and turnover in the labor market," Special Studies Papers 80, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "Ownership, Agency, and Wages: An Examination of Franchising in the Fast Food Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 75-101, February.
  9. Hejeebu, Santhi, 2005. "Contract Enforcement in the English East India Company," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(02), pages 496-523, June.
  10. Murphy, Kevin J., 2000. "Performance standards in incentive contracts," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 245-278, December.
  11. Carlos, Ann M, 1992. "Principal-Agent Problems in Early Trading Companies: A Tale of Two Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 140-45, May.
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