Principle-agent problems in the French slave trade: the case of Rochelais Armateurs and their agents, 1763-1792
La Rochelle, the fourth largest slaving port in France in the eighteenth-century, is used as a case study in the application of agency theory to long-distance trade. This analysis explores an area not accounted for in the literature on French commercial practices. Being broadly couched in a New Institutionalist framework, this study explores the formal and informal institutions designed to curb agency problems, and emphasizes the ex-post strategies such as social rewarding, to which little attention is usually paid. It also finds reputation-effect strategies were efficiently combined with a well-operating legal system. It subsequently challenges the traditional dichotomy between societies where personal links dominated the economy and modern societies where business links are predominantly impersonal. As a result, this empirical analysis leads to a reappraisal of private ordering as opposed to legal centralism and calls for more theoretical research.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2005|
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- Eltis David & Richardson David, 1995. "Productivity in the Transatlantic Slave Trade," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 465-484, October.
- Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-950, October.
- Carlos, Ann M, 1992. "Principal-Agent Problems in Early Trading Companies: A Tale of Two Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 140-145, May.
- Carlos, Ann M. & Nicholas, Stephen, 1990. "Agency Problems in Early Chartered Companies: The Case of the Hudson’s Bay Company," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(04), pages 853-875, December.
- Allen, Douglas W., 2002. "The British Navy Rules: Monitoring and Incompatible Incentives in the Age of Fighting Sail," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 204-231, April.
- Carlos Ann M., 1994. "Bonding and the Agency Problem: Evidence from the Royal African Company, 1672-1691," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 313-335, July. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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