IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Contract Enforcement, Institutions and Social Capital: the Maghribi Traders Reappraised

  • Edwards, J.
  • Ogilvie, S.

Economists draw important lessons for modern development from the medieval Maghribi traders who, it has been argued, enforced contracts collectively through a closed, private-order coalition. We show that this view is untenable. Not a single empirical example adduced as evidence of the putative coalition shows that any coalition actually existed. Furthermore, the Maghribis entered business associations with non-Maghribis and used formal enforcement mechanisms. The Maghribi traders cannot be used to argue that the social capital of exclusive, private-order networks will facilitate exchange in developing economies. Nor do they provide any support for the cultural theories of economic development and institutional change for which they have been mobilised.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0928.

in new window

Date of creation: 30 Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0928
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Clay, Karen, 1997. "Trade without Law: Private-Order Institutions in Mexican California," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 202-31, April.
  2. Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr. & Lee Hoskins, 2006. "The Case for Market-Based Regulation," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 26(3), pages 469-487, Fall.
  3. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2005. "Surviving Andersonville: The Benefits of Social Networks in POW Camps," NBER Working Papers 11825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Harbord, David, 2006. "Enforcing cooperation among medieval merchants: The Maghribi traders revisited," MPRA Paper 1889, University Library of Munich, Germany.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard/Archive127 in Wikipedia English ne '')

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0928. 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: (Howard Cobb)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.