- The economic perspective: demand and supply in the reduction of transaction costs in the ancient world
- Book title
- Law and transaction costs in the ancient economy
- Pages (from-to)
- Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press
- Law and society in the ancient world
- Document type
- Interfacultary Research Institutes
Faculty of Law (FdR)
Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam Center for Law & Economics (ACLE)
Amsterdam Business School Research Institute (ABS-RI)
In this chapter, I distill some elements of the demand and supply of institutions designed to reduce transaction costs in the ancient world. I some cases, contractual parties could reduce transaction cost by accurately designing contracts. In other cases, the failure of private coordination placed the state in a better position than private parties in reducing transaction costs. I emphasize two such (by no means exclusive) contexts: cases in which the gains from reducing transaction costs were spread among large numbers of transactions and cases in which contracts have effects for third parties. Identifying a demand for state intervention raises the question whether the state supplied the appropriate institutions. The state supply of institutions to reduce transaction costs in the ancient world varied. A political-economy perspective suggests that differences depend on the extent to which the state internalizes the gains generated from such institutions.
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