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Historical Property Rights, Sociality, and the Emergence of Impersonal Exchange in Long-Distance Trade

Erik Kimbrough, Vernon Smith and Bart Wilson ()

American Economic Review, 2008, vol. 98, issue 3, 1009-39

Abstract: This laboratory experiment explores the extent to which impersonal exchange emerges from personal exchange with opportunities for long-distance trade. We design a three-commodity production and exchange economy in which agents in three geographically separated villages must develop multilateral exchange networks to import a good only available abroad. For treatments, we induce two distinct institutional histories to investigate how past experience with property rights affects the evolution of specialization and exchange. We find that a history of unenforced property rights hinders our subjects' ability to develop the requisite personal social arrangements to support specialization and effectively exploit impersonal long-distance trade.

JEL-codes: D51 P14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.1009
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Working Paper: Historical Property Rights, Sociality, and the Emergence of Impersonal Exchange in Long-distance Trade (2006) Downloads
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