The Price of Legal Institutions: The Beratll Merchants in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Empire

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14 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the eighteenth century, European embassies in the Ottoman Empire started selling exemption licenses called berats, which granted non-Muslim Ottomans tax exemptions and the option to use European law. I construct a novel price panel for British and French licenses based on primary sources. The evidence reveals that prices were significantly high and varied across countries. Agents acquired multiple berats to enhance their legal options, which they exploited through strategic court switching. By the early 1800s, berat holders had driven other groups from European-Ottoman trade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-748
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Economic History
Volume75
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 27 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics

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