Abstract

Economic development in preindustrial Europe largely relied on specialization and trade. The seafarers making shipping possible, however, faced inconvenient disruptions of income streams as they received most of their wages upon return only. While credit must consequently have played an important role in their daily lives, little is known about how it was used and secured. This paper analyzes lending by two shopkeepers to seafarers in eighteenth-century Amsterdam. It documents a large and formalized credit market and shows that a municipal official secured lending by withholding loan payments from seafarers’ wages. Urban regulation thus helped solve frictions on credit markets.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 67-88
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-09
Open Access
No
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