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Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders

Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders

By Avner Greif

The Journal of Economic History, Vol.49:4 (1989)

Abstract: This article examines the economic institution utilized during the eleventh century to facilitate complex trade characterized by asymmetric information and limited legal contract enforceability. The geniza documents are employed to present the “coalition,” an economic institution basedupon a reputation mechanism utilized by Mediterranean traders to confront the organizational problem associated with the exchange relations between merchants and their overseas agents. The theoretical framework explains many trade-related phenomena, especially why traders utilized specific forms of business association, and indicates the interrelations between social and economic institutions.

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