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Principle-agent problems in the French slave trade: the case of Rochelais Armateurs and their agents, 1763-1792

Forestier, Albane (2005) Principle-agent problems in the French slave trade: the case of Rochelais Armateurs and their agents, 1763-1792. Working Papers of the Global Economic History Network (GEHN), 13/05. Department of Economic History, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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La Rochelle, the fourth largest slaving port in France in the eighteenth-century, is used as a case study in the application of agency theory to long-distance trade. This analysis explores an area not accounted for in the literature on French commercial practices. Being broadly couched in a New Institutionalist framework, this study explores the formal and informal institutions designed to curb agency problems, and emphasizes the ex-post strategies such as social rewarding, to which little attention is usually paid. It also finds reputation-effect strategies were efficiently combined with a well-operating legal system. It subsequently challenges the traditional dichotomy between societies where personal links dominated the economy and modern societies where business links are predominantly impersonal. As a result, this empirical analysis leads to a reappraisal of private ordering as opposed to legal centralism and calls for more theoretical research.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2005 The Author
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
D History General and Old World > DC France
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2009 11:50
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2010 09:20

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