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Turning Points in Leadership: Shipping Technology in the Portuguese and Dutch Merchant Empires

Author

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  • Claudia Rei

    () (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

Abstract

This paper focuses on the implications of organizational control on the race for economic leadership across merchant empires. Poor organizational choices reduce incentives to invest, which in turn stifle technological improvements and make leading empires lag behind new entrants. Using historical evidence on shipping technology, I show that this may have been a factor behind the loss of leadership of the Portuguese merchant empire in the late sixteenth century.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Rei, 2011. "Turning Points in Leadership: Shipping Technology in the Portuguese and Dutch Merchant Empires," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 1123, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:1123
    as

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    File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu11-w23.pdf
    File Function: First version, October 2011
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Claudia Rei, 2013. "Incentives in merchant empires: Portuguese and Dutch compensation schemes," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 7(1), pages 1-13, January.
    2. Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1983. "Uncertain Innovation and the Persistence of Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 741-748, September.
    3. Gerald S. Graham, 1956. "The Ascendancy Of The Sailing Ship 1850-85," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 9(1), pages 74-88, August.
    4. Rei, Claudia, 2011. "The organization of Eastern merchant empires," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 116-135, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Merchant empires; Shipping technology; Organization;

    JEL classification:

    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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