Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2065923
 


 



A Cartel that Lasts for Centuries: The Case of the Eastern Orthodox Church Indulgences


Kostas Axarloglou


ALBA Graduate Business School

Christos Cabolis


ALBA Graduate Business School; Yale SOM International Center for Finance

Nikolaos Chrissidis


Southern Connecticut State University

April 3, 2012


Abstract:     
In this paper, we present a non-conventional case of collusive behavior and tactics that last for centuries. In particular, we focus on the process through which the Patriarchates of the Eastern Orthodox Church (specifically, those of Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria) distributed indulgences to believers in their jurisdictions during the period between the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. By employing a wide variety of primary sources such as correspondence among the various patriarchates and among individual clerics, printing orders for indulgences, and income-expenditure records, among others, we present evidence of oligopolistic interaction and behavior among the various Patriarchates in the distribution of indulgences. The observed long-duration of this collusive structure is the outcome of high barriers to entry, well defined market segmentation, effective monitoring, a strong enforcement mechanism and finally no product innovation. Overall, the data suggest that, besides their spiritual importance, indulgences were promoted in a way that resembles very much the distribution method and process of any typical product in a modern market economy.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

Keywords: Cartel, Collusive behavior, Indulgences, Oligopolistic interaction, Regulation

JEL Classification: A12, D12, L4, L43

working papers series


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Date posted: June 8, 2012 ; Last revised: June 13, 2012

Suggested Citation

Axarloglou, Kostas and Cabolis, Christos and Chrissidis, Nikolaos, A Cartel that Lasts for Centuries: The Case of the Eastern Orthodox Church Indulgences (April 3, 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2065923 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2065923

Contact Information

Kostas Axarloglou
ALBA Graduate Business School ( email )
Athinas Ave. & 2A Areos Str.
Vouliagmeni 166 71, Athens
Greece
+3010 896 4531 (Phone)
+3010 896 4737 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.alba.edu.gr
Christos Cabolis (Contact Author)
ALBA Graduate Business School ( email )
6-8 Xenias Street
Athens, 115 28
Greece
+30 210 896 4531 (Phone)
+30 210 896 4737 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.alba.edu.gr/faculty/Pages/Cabolis.aspx
Yale SOM International Center for Finance ( email )
135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States
203-432-7108 (Phone)
203-432-8931 (Fax)
Nikolaos Chrissidis
Southern Connecticut State University ( email )
New Haven, CT 06515
United States
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