The Economic History of Sovereignty: Communal Responsibility, the Extended Family, and the Firm
Economic institutions encompassing increasingly sophisticated concepts of risksharing and liability flourished in Europe beginning in the High Middle Ages. These innovations occurred in an environment of fragmented local jurisdictions, not within the framework of the territorial state. In this short paper we attempt to sketch a unifying approach towards the interpretation of the emergence of these institutions. We argue that communal responsibility in medieval city-states created incentives for excessive risk-taking by individual merchants, and that the emergence of firms mitigated this problem. We also find that entity shielding in the sense of HANSMANN, KRAAKMAN, AND SQUIRE  arose endogenously and is not primarily the result of regulation by local authorities.
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Volume (Year): 165 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
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References listed on IDEAS
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- Lars Boerner & Albrecht Ritschl, 2010.
"Communal Responsibility and the Coexistence of Money and Credit Under Anonymous Matching,"
SFB 649 Discussion Papers
SFB649DP2010-060, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
- Lars Boerner & Albrecht Ritschl, 2010. "Communal Responsibility and the Coexistence of Money and Credit Under Anonymous Matching," CEP Discussion Papers dp1034, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Boerner, Lars & Ritschl, Albrecht, 2011. "Communal Responsibility and the Coexistence of Money and Credit Under Anonymous Matching," CEPR Discussion Papers 8184, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Lars Boerner & Albrecht Ritschl, 2011. "Communal Responsibility and the Coexistence of Money and Credit under Anonymous Matching," Working Papers 0006, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
- Volckart, Oliver, 2004. "The economics of feuding in late medieval Germany," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 282-299, July.
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