The Extralegal Development of Securities Trading in Seventeenth Century Amsterdam
24 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2010
Date Written: December 18, 2001
It is often argued that government rule enforcement is necessary for the development of a stock market (Glaeser, Johnson, & Shleifer, 2001). Work by Boot, Stuart, and Thakor (1993), Klein and Leffler (1981), and Telser (1980), however, suggests that repeated interaction and reputation can create incentives for contracts to be self-enforcing. This paper investigates these claims by examining the first stock market, the Amsterdam Bourse. At a time when many financial contracts were unenforceable in government courts the market developed surprisingly advanced trading instruments. Descriptions by seventeenth-century stockbroker, De la Vega [Confusion de Confusiones], indicate that a reputation mechanism enabled extralegal trading of relatively sophisticated contracts including short sales, forward contracts, and options.
Keywords: Extralegal, Enforcement, Reputation
JEL Classification: L14, N23, G28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
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