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Cartels in the Kautiliya Arthasastra

Author

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  • Vikas Kumar

    () (Azim Premji University, PES School of Engineering, Bangalore, India)

Abstract

This paper examines the legal-economic dimension of collusive manipulation of prices from the perspective of the Kautiliya Arthasastra, an ancient Indian treatise on law and statecraft, which is among the oldest sources of information about cartels. It identifies cartels in the treatise, shows that cartels were treated more severely than individuals who manipulated prices, assesses the efficacy of penalties from the perspective of deterrence, and discusses the evolution of relevant laws. The economic analysis presented in the paper throws new light on the controversy surrounding the internal consistency of the Arthasastra. The paper also highlights the need to take note of the moral-legal environment within which pre-modern markets operated before studying them with the help of models developed for modern markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Vikas Kumar, 2012. "Cartels in the Kautiliya Arthasastra," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 6(1), pages 59-79, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:fau:aucocz:au2012_059
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Vikas Kumar, 2008. "A Critical review of economic analyses of religion," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2008-023, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    2. Miller, Geoffrey P, 1993. "Contracts of Genesis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 15-45, January.
    3. Brams, Steven J., 2012. "Game Theory and the Humanities: Bridging Two Worlds," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262518252, January.
    4. Robert B. Ekelund Jr. & Robert F. Hebert & Robert D. Tollison, 2008. "The Marketplace of Christianity," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550717, January.
    5. Miller, Geoffrey P, 1993. "Ritual and Regulation: A Legal-Economic Interpretation of Selected Biblical Texts," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 477-501, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Arthasastra; collusion; Dharmasastra; economic history; indology; just price; trade;

    JEL classification:

    • B11 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Preclassical (Ancient, Medieval, Mercantilist, Physiocratic)
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • N45 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Asia including Middle East

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