Contract Enforcement, Institutions and Social Capital: the Maghribi Traders Reappraised
Economists draw important lessons for modern development from the medieval Maghribi traders who, according to Greif, enforced contracts multilaterally through a closed, private-order ‘coalition’. We show that this view is untenable. The Maghribis used formal legal mechanisms and entered business associations with non-Maghribis. Not a single empirical example adduced by Greif shows that any ‘coalition’ actually existed. The Maghribis cannot be used to argue that the social capital of exclusive 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.
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- Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2007.
"Surviving Andersonville: The Benefits of Social Networks in POW Camps,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1467-1487, September.
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- Harbord, David, 2006. "Enforcing cooperation among medieval merchants: The Maghribi traders revisited," MPRA Paper 1889, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- 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.
- 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.
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