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Contract Enforcement, Institutions and Social Capital: the Maghribi Traders Reappraised

Jeremy Edwards and Sheilagh Ogilvie

Cambridge Working Papers in Economics from Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge

Abstract: Economists draw important lessons for modern development from the medieval Maghribi traders who, it has been argued, enforced contracts collectively through a closed, private-order coalition. We show that this view is untenable. Not a single empirical example adduced as evidence of the putative coalition shows that any coalition actually existed. Furthermore, the Maghribis entered business associations with non-Maghribis and used formal enforcement mechanisms. The Maghribi traders cannot be used to argue that the social capital of exclusive, private-order networks will facilitate exchange in developing economies. Nor do they provide any support for the cultural theories of economic development and institutional change for which they have been mobilised.

JEL-codes: O17 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ara and nep-soc
Date: 2009-07-30
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Related works:
Journal Article: Contract enforcement, institutions, and social capital: the Maghribi traders reappraised (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Contract Enforcement, Institutions and Social Capital: the Maghribi Traders Reappraised (2008) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cam:camdae:0928

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