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Cities of Commerce: how can we test the hypothesis?

Author

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  • Guillaume Daudin

    () (PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine, LEDa, IRD UMR DIAL, SciencesPo, OFCE, Paris, France)

Abstract

This paper discusses Gelderblom’s hypothesis that urban competition (including a large number of competing cities, footloose foreign traders and municipal autonomy) was central to the rise of inclusive trade institutions in Europe. The first part discusses the precise behaviour of traders, town authorities and sovereigns underlying Gelderblom’s explanatory framework. The second part presents some challenges to the generalisation of the book’s thesis to the history of Europe, including Italy and Britain. The last part advances a short econometric exercise to check this generalisation. Urban competition combined with starting institutional quality does not emerge as a positive factor for the growth of European cities in general: this is interpreted as a call for more research rather a decisive counter-argument. _________________________________ Cet article discute l’hypothèse de Gelerblom selon laquelle la compétition urbaine (incluant un grand nombre de villes concurrentes entre elles, des négociants se déplaçant facilement, et l’autonomie urbaine) a été centrale pour la généralisation d’institutions de commerce ouvertes à tous en Europe. La première partie examine le comportement précis des négociants, autorités municipales et souverains qui sont au coeur du schéma explicatif de Gelderblom. La deuxième partie présente quelques difficultés qui s’opposent à la généralisation de la thèse de l’ouvrage à l’ensemble de l’histoire européenne, notamment en Italie et en Grande-Bretagne. La dernière partie propose un petit exercice économétrique pour tester cette généralisation. La compétition urbaine combinée à des institutions de bonne qualité n’apparaît pas comme un facteur de croissance pour les villes urbaines dans leur ensemble : ce résultat est interprété plus comme un appel à plus de recherche qu’un contre-argument décisif.

Suggested Citation

  • Guillaume Daudin, 2014. "Cities of Commerce: how can we test the hypothesis?," Working Papers DT/2014/18, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201418
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    Cited by:

    1. Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp, 2015. "How the Danes discovered Britain: the international integration of the Danish dairy industry before 1880," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 432-453.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Europe; modern history; urbanisation; institutions; Histoire Moderne; Urbanisation.;

    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N94 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: 1913-

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