What Lessons for Economic Development Can We Draw from the Champagne Fairs?

42 Pages Posted: 19 May 2011  

Jeremy Edwards

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics and Politics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Sheilagh Ogilvie

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: April 29, 2011

Abstract

The medieval Champagne fairs are widely used to draw lessons about the institutional basis for long-distance impersonal exchange. This paper re-examines the causes of the outstanding success of the Champagne fairs in mediating international trade, the timing and causes of the fairs’ decline, and the institutions for securing property rights and enforcing contracts at the fairs. It finds that contract enforcement at the fairs did not take the form of private-order or corporative mechanisms, but was provided by public institutions. More generally, the success and decline of the Champagne fairs depended crucially on the policies adopted by the public authorities.

Keywords: legal system, medieval Europe, trade, private-order institutions, community responsibility system

JEL Classification: N430, N730, O170

Suggested Citation

Edwards, Jeremy and Ogilvie, Sheilagh, What Lessons for Economic Development Can We Draw from the Champagne Fairs? (April 29, 2011). CESifo Working Paper Series, No. 3438. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1837310

Jeremy Edwards (Contact Author)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics and Politics ( email )

Austin Robinson Building
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom
++44 1223 335232 (Phone)
++44 1223 335475 (Fax)

Sheilagh Ogilvie

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Austin Robinson Building
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom
44-1223-335200 (Phone)
44-1223-335475 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/faculty/ogilvie/index.htm

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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