IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/exehis/v48y2011i1p116-135.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The organization of Eastern merchant empires

Author

Listed:
  • Rei, Claudia

Abstract

In the sixteenth century, European countries engaged in long-distance trade with the East. Despite sharing the same objectives and technology, Portugal opted for a crown monopoly, England, the Netherlands, and Sweden franchised trade to private merchants, whereas in Denmark and France, king and merchants shared control. The financial condition of the crown appears to have been relevant for the monarchs' decision. I provide an economic mechanism to illuminate the historical variation in terms of the differences in relative endowments of king and merchants within each country. I also explore the implications of control allocation using archival data on labor compensation and shipping technology. Differences in the long run performance of merchant empires suggest a major impact of organization.

Suggested Citation

  • Rei, Claudia, 2011. "The organization of Eastern merchant empires," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 116-135, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:48:y:2011:i:1:p:116-135
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014-4983(10)00048-3
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2005. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 546-579, June.
    2. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2008. "Competing for Ownership," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1279-1308, December.
    3. Irwin, Douglas A, 1991. "Mercantilism as Strategic Trade Policy: The Anglo-Dutch Rivalry for the East India Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1296-1314, December.
    4. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
    5. 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.
    6. Abdelhak Senhadji, 2000. "Sources of Economic Growth: An Extensive Growth Accounting Exercise," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 47(1), pages 1-6.
    7. Newman, Andrew F., 2007. "Risk-bearing and entrepreneurship," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 11-26, November.
    8. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    9. Davis, Lance & North, Douglass, 1970. "Institutional Change and American Economic Growth: A First Step Towards a Theory of Institutional Innovation," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 131-149, March.
    10. Blair,Roger D. & Lafontaine,Francine, 2011. "The Economics of Franchising," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521775892, March.
    11. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
    12. Guillaume Daudin, 2005. "Commerce et prospérité : la France au XVIIIe siècle," Sciences Po publications 19, Sciences Po.
    13. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-337, May.
    14. 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.
    15. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Claudia Rei, 2011. "Turning Points in Leadership: Shipping Technology in the Portuguese and Dutch Merchant Empires," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 1123, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    2. Rei, Claudia, 2011. "Incentives in Merchant Empires: Portuguese and Dutch Labor Compensation," MPRA Paper 28712, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Claudia Rei, 2013. "Incentives in merchant empires: Portuguese and Dutch compensation schemes," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 7(1), pages 1-13, January.
    4. Costa, Leonor Freire & Palma, Nuno & Reis, Jaime, 2013. "The great escape? The contribution of the empire to Portugal’s economic growth, 1500-1800," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp13-07, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.

    Corrections

    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:eee:exehis:v:48:y:2011:i:1:p:116-135. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830 .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.