The Maghribi Traders: A Reappraisal?
Stanford University - Department of Economics; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
March 26, 2012
A shorter version of this paper was published in the Economic History Review, May 2012
Private-order contract enforcement institutions motivate compliance by means other than the state’s coercive power and play an important role in any economy. They have been particularly important, however, in pre-modern and developing economies with ineffective court systems. Social and cultural factors influence the private-order that prevails in a given society and the related cultural beliefs influence subsequent contractual, organizational and legal development. Historically, the particularities of the European private-order institutions contributed to the rise of the modern — impersonal — markets in that region. A recent Economic History Review article by Edwards and Ogilvie challenges these claims by revisiting the comparative analysis of the Maghribis traders, Jewish traders who operated in the Muslim Mediterranean. They concluded that the ‘Maghribi traders used informal sanctions but also resorted to legal enforcement, in ways strongly resembling European merchants’ (p. 423). This article rebuts Edwards and Ogilvie’s claim by presenting the evidence in the context of discussing the methodological challenge associated with comparative and historical institutional analysis.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: Maghribi Traders, Contract Enforcement, Medieval Trade, Institutions, Legal Systems, Edwards and Ogilvie
JEL Classification: O17working papers series
Date posted: March 26, 2012 ; Last revised: May 10, 2012
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo8 in 0.282 seconds