The emergence of property rights enforcement in early trade : A behavioral model without reputational effects
The present article focuses on the conditions that allow governments to increase property rights protection because they expect enough income from such action. We develop a behavioral explanation, according to which the answer lies in the growth in the importance, size and wealth of merchant guilds in the medieval era in Western Europe as well as a somewhat surprising effect of volatile price structures. We add to prior research by showing that even uncoordinated embargo pressures among multiple guilds could get medieval rulers to offer high levels of property rights protection. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.