Origins of Impersonal Markets in Commercial and Communication Revolutions of Europe

83 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2017 Last revised: 7 May 2018

Prateek Raj

University College London - School of Management; University of Chicago - George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State

Date Written: April 30, 2018

Abstract

In medieval Europe, trade depended on personal relationships, which were usually mediated by merchant guilds. I construct a dataset of medieval and early modern Europe, to understand how merchant guilds declined in the sixteenth century. I argue that cities close to the seaports, especially the Atlantic, were more willing to do business with merchants outside guilds. Also, cities with high printing penetration had better access to informative books like merchant manuals and reliable business practices like double-entry bookkeeping. Impersonal markets emerged in sixteenth-century Northwestern Europe that benefited from both - commerce at the Atlantic coast and the revolution in horizontal communication.

Keywords: Europe, Printing, Atlantic, Guilds, Trade, Embeddedness, Arm’s Length Exchange

JEL Classification: N13, N23, N43, N73, N93, Z13

Suggested Citation

Raj, Prateek, Origins of Impersonal Markets in Commercial and Communication Revolutions of Europe (April 30, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2994833 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2994833

Prateek Raj (Contact Author)

University College London - School of Management ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

University of Chicago - George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State ( email )

Walker Hall
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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