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The economic institution of international barter

  • Marin, Dalia
  • Schnitzer, Monika

Starting with the international debt crisis in the 1980s, international barter increased substantially. More recently, barter has emerged in Russia and South East Asia. This paper examines how barter can help highly indebted countries to finance imports if they cannot use standard credit arrangements. We argue that payment in goods is easier to enforce than payment in money. However, debtors may pay with inferior quality products. We rank goods with respect to these incentive properties and derive the economic institution of commodity money which explains the trade pattern in barter. Our theoretical predictions are consistent with data on barter contracts.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 19260.

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Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Economic Journal 479 112(2002): pp. 293-316
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19260
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  1. Casella, Alessandra & Rauch, James E, 1998. "Overcoming Informational Barriers to International Resource Allocation: Prices and Group Ties," CEPR Discussion Papers 1978, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Stewart C. Myers & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1998. "The Paradox Of Liquidity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 733-771, August.
  3. Marin, Dalia & Schnitzer, Monika, 1995. "Tying Trade Flows: A Theory of Countertrade with Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1047-64, December.
  4. Greif, Avner, 1992. "Institutions and International Trade: Lessons from the Commercial Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 128-33, May.
  5. Bulow, J. & Rogoff, K., 1988. "Sovereign Debt: Is To Forgive To Forget?," Papers 411, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  6. Marin, Dalia & Schnitzer, Monika, 1995. "Creating Creditworthiness through Reciprocal Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 1185, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Amann, Erwin & Marin, Dalia, 1994. "Risk-Sharing in International Trade," Munich Reprints in Economics 3110, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Caves, Richard E. & Marin, Dalia, 1992. "Countertrade Transactions: Theory and Evidence," Munich Reprints in Economics 3111, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  9. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1995. "Debt and Seniority: An Analysis of the Role of Hard Claims in Constraining Management," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 567-85, June.
  10. Amann, Erwin & Marin, Dalia, 1994. "Risk-Sharing in International Trade: An Analysis of Countertrade," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(1), pages 63-77, March.
  11. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1993. "A Search-Theoretic Approach to Monetary Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 63-77, March.
  12. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Maskin, Eric S, 1996. "A Walrasian Theory of Money and Barter," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 955-1005, November.
  13. Eaton, Jonathan & Gersovitz, Mark, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309, April.
  14. Gooptu, Sudarshan & Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad, 1992. "Factors that affect short-term commercial bank lending to developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 886, The World Bank.
  15. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Eric S. Maskin, 1996. "A Walrasian Theory of Money," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1753, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  16. Prendergast, Canice & Stole, Lars, 2001. "The non-monetary nature of gifts," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1793-1810, December.
  17. Marin, Dalia, 1990. "Tying in International Trade," Munich Reprints in Economics 3114, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  18. Kletzer, K.M. & Wright, B.D., 1990. "Sovereign Debt Renegotiation In A Consumption-Smoothing Model," Papers 610, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  19. Hennart, Jean-Francois & Anderson, Erin, 1993. "Countertrade and the Minimization of Transaction Costs: An Empirical Examination," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 290-313, October.
  20. Eaton, Jonathan, 1990. "Debt Relief and the International Enforcement of Loan Contracts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 43-56, Winter.
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