By Masahiko Aoki, Yujiro Hayami
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Extra resources for Communities and Markets in Economic Development
Hence, to examine the extent to which impersonal exchange was feasible in pre-modern Europe one has to determine whether an institution that enabled impersonal exchange functioned during this time. In the early days of the period under consideration there was no legal system in Europe that could have effectively supported impersonal exchange among individuals from distant localities. 10 Local courts that could supervise and enforce contracts executed in the areas under their authority existed throughout Europe.
Furthermore, the historical records do not reﬂect a return to the CRS following the great contraction of population and trade that occurred in ﬁrst half of the fourteenth century and lasted for generations. Similarly, the mere fact that transition away from the CRS was repeatedly attempted also in politically fragmented Italy indicates that the rising centralized state was not necessarily the driving force behind this transition. Hence, it is appropriate to consider whether the decline of the CRS reﬂects intra- and inter-community economic, social, and political processes that reduced the system's efﬁciency and undermined its intra-community political viability.
Thus, theory implies that in the early stages of the Commercial Revolution when communities and their trade were relatively small and growing, the CRS was likely to require actual conﬁscation. As time passed and trade increased, however, the value of future trade was likely to eliminate the need for actual conﬁscations. Consistent with this theoretical prediction, thirteenth-century historical records from Italy and England reﬂect this transition. While the evidence regarding the operation of the CRS in Italy during the twelfth century mentioned above reﬂects the threat of impounding goods, by the thirteenth century this was no longer the case.
Communities and Markets in Economic Development by Masahiko Aoki, Yujiro Hayami