Sunday, May 22, 2016

Clearinghouses for IOU's in the 13th through 18th centuries: by Borner and Hatfield

Here's a market design/economic history paper about early financial clearinghouses, forthcoming in the Journal of Political Economy:

The Design of Debt Clearing Markets: Clearinghouse Mechanisms in Pre-Industrial Europe
Lars Borner, and John William Hatfield

We examine the evolution of the decentralized clearinghouse mechanisms that were
in use throughout Europe from the 13th century to the 18th century; in particular,
we explore the clearing of non- or limited-tradable debts like bills of exchange. We
construct a theoretical model of these clearinghouse mechanisms and show that the
specific decentralized multilateral clearing algorithms known as rescontre, skontrieren
or virement des parties, used by merchants in this period, were efficient in specific historical
contexts. Our analysis contributes to the understanding of both the emergence
and evolution of these mechanisms during late medieval and early modern fairs and
their robustness during the 17th and 18th centuries.

No comments: