IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition


  • Greif, Avner


This paper presents an economic institution which enabled eleventh-century traders to benefit from employing overseas agents despite the commitment problem inherent in these relations. Agency relations were governed by a coalition--an economic institution in which expectations, implicit contractual relations, and a specific information-transmission mechanism supported the operation of a reputation mechanism. Historical records and a simple game-theoretical model are used to examine this institution. The study highlights the interaction between social and economic institutions, the determinants of business practices, the nature of the merchants' law, and the interrelations between market and nonmarket institutions. Copyright 1993 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-548, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:83:y:1993:i:3:p:525-48

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to JSTOR subscribers. See for details.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
    2. Stanley Fischer & Lawrence H. Summers, 1989. "Should Nations Learn to Live With Inflation?," NBER Working Papers 2815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1170-1188, December.
    4. Laurence Ball & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1989. "Wage Indexation and Time-Consistent Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 2948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:83:y:1993:i:3:p:525-48. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.