IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wop/stanec/97016.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

On the Social Foundations and Historical Development of Institutions that Facilitate Impersonal Exchange: From the Community Responsibility System to Individual Legal Responsibility in Pre-modern Europe

Author

Listed:
  • Avner Greif

Abstract

June 12, 1997 Existing works on the economic implications of social structures examined the effect of intra-community information and contract enforcement institutions on personal exchange among that community's members. In contrast, this paper examines the extent to which common knowledge regarding social structure impact the set of feasible institutions and thereby the scope of inter-community, impersonal market exchange. When this extent is large, economic agents can condition their actions on one's social affiliation thereby enabling the operation of an institution taking advantage of intra-community, personal contract enforcement to support inter-community, impersonal exchange. This argument is embedded in a historical study of contract enforcement institution that supported inter-community, impersonal exchange in pre-modern Europe. The paper's game theoretical and historical analysis indicates the importance of a particular institution - the Community Responsibility System - in supporting inter-community, impersonal exchange from as early as the twelfth century despite the lack of appropriate legal contract enforceability provided by the state. Thus, the analysis suggests the deficiency of the common view in economic history that in pre-modern Europe impersonal exchanges were not conducted before the emerging states established the appropriate legal systems. By the thirteenth century, however, various communities attempted to abolish the Community Responsibility System and substitute it with legal contract enforcement provided by the state. Social processes that impact the extent to which social structure is common knowledge, communities' size, intra-community heterogeneity, and inter-community mobility were important contributors to this transition..

Suggested Citation

  • Avner Greif, 1997. "On the Social Foundations and Historical Development of Institutions that Facilitate Impersonal Exchange: From the Community Responsibility System to Individual Legal Responsibility in Pre-modern Euro," Working Papers 97016, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:97016
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www-econ.stanford.edu/faculty/workp/swp97016.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Greif, Avner, 1989. "Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 857-882, December.
    2. Jean Tirole, 1996. "A Theory of Collective Reputations (with applications to the persistence of corruption and to firm quality)," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(1), pages 1-22.
    3. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Group lending, repayment incentives and social collateral," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18, February.
    4. Bouman, F. J. A., 1995. "Rotating and accumulating savings and credit associations: A development perspective," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 371-384, March.
    5. R. D. Face, 1958. "Techniques Of Business In The Trade Between The Fairs Of Champagne And The South Of Europe In The Twelfth And Thirteenth Centuries," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 10(3), pages 427-438, April.
    6. 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.
    7. Glenn Ellison, 1994. "Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma with Anonymous Random Matching," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 567-588.
    8. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Social Networks and Labor-Market Outcomes: Toward an Economic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1407-1418, December.
    9. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-548, June.
    10. Hirschman, Albert O, 1982. "Rival Interpretations of Market Society: Civilizing, Destructive, or Feeble?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 1463-1484, December.
    11. Varian, H.R., 1989. "Monitoring Agents With Other Agents," Papers 89-18, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
    12. Greif, Avner & Milgrom, Paul & Weingast, Barry R, 1994. "Coordination, Commitment, and Enforcement: The Case of the Merchant Guild," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 745-776, August.
    13. Michihiro Kandori, 1992. "Social Norms and Community Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80.
    14. DANIEL B. KLElN, 1992. "Promise Keeping In The Great Society: A Model Of Credit Information Sharing," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 117-136, July.
    15. 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 202-231, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jain, Tarun & Sood, Ashima, 2017. "How does relationship-based governance accommodate new entrants? Evidence from the cycle-rickshaw rental market," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(3), pages 673-697, September.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Daron Acemoglu & Alexander Wolitzky, 2015. "Sustaining Cooperation: Community Enforcement vs. Specialized Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 21457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Christian Stoff, 2004. "Establishing Cooperation between Groups: Ingroup versus Outgroup Punishment," SOI - Working Papers 0416, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Feb 2006.
    3. Avner Greif, 2006. "History Lessons: The Birth of Impersonal Exchange: The Community Responsibility System and Impartial Justice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 221-236, Spring.
    4. Bramoullé, Yann & Goyal, Sanjeev, 2016. "Favoritism," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 16-27.
    5. Mika Kallioinen, 2017. "Inter‐communal institutions in medieval trade," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1131-1152, November.
    6. Armelle Mazé & Claude Ménard, 2010. "Private Ordering, Collective Action, and the Self-Enforcing Range of Contracts. The Case of French Livestock Industry," Post-Print halshs-00624288, HAL.
    7. Clay, Karen, 1997. "Trade, Institutions, and Credit," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 495-521, October.
    8. Fainmesser, Itay P., 2019. "Exclusive intermediation in unobservable networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 533-548.
    9. Annen, Kurt, 2003. "Social capital, inclusive networks, and economic performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 449-463, April.
    10. Peter Leeson, 2007. "Efficient anarchy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 41-53, January.
    11. Ogilvie, Sheilagh & Carus, A.W., 2014. "Institutions and Economic Growth in Historical Perspective," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 8, pages 403-513, Elsevier.
    12. Felipe Balmaceda, 2005. "Cooperation and Network Formation," Documentos de Trabajo 205, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    13. Vincenzo Scoppa, 2003. "Contratti incompleti ed enforcement endogeno. Una rassegna della letteratura," Economia politica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 391-440.
    14. Aidin Hajikhameneh & Jared Rubin, 2019. "Exchange in the Absence of Legal Enforcement: Reputation and Multilateral Punishment under Uncertainty," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 192-237.
    15. Belloc Marianna, 2009. "Cross-Cultural Trade and Institutional Stability," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-25, October.
    16. Felipe Balmaceda, 2004. "Network Formation and Cooperation," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 208, Econometric Society.
    17. Gagliardi, Francesca, 2008. "Institutions and economic change: A critical survey of the new institutional approaches and empirical evidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 416-443, February.
    18. Sanchez-Pages Santiago & Straub Stéphane, 2010. "The Emergence of Institutions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-38, September.
    19. W. Bentley MacLeod, 2006. "Reputations, Relationships and the Enforcement of Incomplete Contracts," CESifo Working Paper Series 1730, CESifo.
    20. Armelle Mazé & Claude Ménard, 2010. "Private ordering, collective action, and the self-enforcing range of contracts," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 131-153, February.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:97016. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/destaus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.