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The Price of Legal Institutions: The Beratlı Merchants in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Empire

Artunç, Cihan
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Cihan Artunç ()

The Journal of Economic History, 2015, vol. 75, issue 3, 720-748

Abstract: In the eighteenth century, European embassies in the Ottoman Empire started selling exemption licenses called berats, which granted non-Muslim Ottomans tax exemptions and the option to use European law. I construct a novel price panel for British and French licenses based on primary sources. The evidence reveals that prices were significantly high and varied across countries. Agents acquired multiple berats to enhance their legal options, which they exploited through strategic court switching. By the early 1800s, berat holders had driven other groups from European-Ottoman trade.

Date: 2015
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