What Lessons for Economic Development Can We Draw from the Champagne Fairs?
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics and Politics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)
April 29, 2011
CESifo Working Paper Series, No. 3438
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42
Keywords: legal system, medieval Europe, trade, private-order institutions, community responsibility system
JEL Classification: N430, N730, O170
Date posted: May 19, 2011