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The economics of debt clearing mechanisms

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  • Börner, Lars
  • Hatfield, John William

Abstract

We examine the evolution of decentralized clearinghouse mechanisms from the 13th to the 18th century; in particular, we explore the clearing of non- or limitedtradable debts like bills of exchange. We construct a theoretical model of these clearinghouse mechanisms, similar to the models in the theoretical matching literature, and show that specific decentralized multilateral clearing algorithms known as rescontre, skontrieren or virement des parties used by merchants were efficient in specific historical contexts. We can explain both the evolutionary self-organizing emergence of late medieval and early modern fairs, and its robustness during the 17th and 18th century.

Suggested Citation

  • Börner, Lars & Hatfield, John William, 2010. "The economics of debt clearing mechanisms," Discussion Papers 2010/27, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:201027
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Roth, Alvin E. & Sonmez, Tayfun & Utku Unver, M., 2005. "Pairwise kidney exchange," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 125(2), pages 151-188, December.
    2. Alvin E. Roth & Tayfun Sönmez & M. Utku Ünver, 2004. "Kidney Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 457-488.
    3. Stephen F. Quinn & William Roberds, 2006. "An economic explanation of the early Bank of Amsterdam, debasement, bills of exchange, and the emergence of the first central bank," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2006-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    4. Lars Boerner & Albrecht Ritschl, 2010. "Communal Responsibility and the Coexistence of Money and Credit Under Anonymous Matching," CEP Discussion Papers dp1034, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Lars Boerner & Albrecht Ritschl, 2009. "The Economic History of Sovereignty: Communal Responsibility, the Extended Family, and the Firm," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 165(1), pages 99-112, March.
    6. Abdulkadiroglu, Atila & Sonmez, Tayfun, 1999. "House Allocation with Existing Tenants," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 233-260, October.
    7. 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.
    8. Pezzolo, Luciano & Tattara, Giuseppe, 2008. "“Una fiera senza luogo”: Was Bisenzone an International Capital Market in Sixteenth-Century Italy?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(04), pages 1098-1122, December.
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    10. William Roberds & Stephen Quinn, 2007. "The Bank of Amsterdam and the Leap to Central Bank Money," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 262-265, May.
    11. 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.
    12. Ehlers, Lars, 2002. "Coalitional Strategy-Proof House Allocation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 298-317, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lars Boerner & Albrecht Ritschl, 2010. "Communal Responsibility and the Coexistence of Money and Credit Under Anonymous Matching," CEP Discussion Papers dp1034, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. van Bochove, Christiaan & Boerner, Lars & Quint, Daniel, 2012. "Anglo-Dutch premium auctions in eighteenth-century Amsterdam," Discussion Papers 2012/3, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    market design; matching; history of decentralized clearinghouses;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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