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Law and Long-Term Economic ChangeA Eurasian Perspective$
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Debin Ma and Jan Luiten van Zanden

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804772730

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804772730.001.0001

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Bankruptcy Laws

Bankruptcy Laws

Bast versus West

(p.198) Chapter Ten Bankruptcy Laws
Law and Long-Term Economic Change
JÉRôme Sgard
Stanford University Press

This chapter examines the emergence of a unique Western European legal rule, bankruptcy law, and its status in other parts of the world. It notes that bankruptcy was a medieval European invention that spread from the cities of northern Italy to the rest of the subcontinent. By revealing the significance of the political commitment to private exchange and collective action by citizens as embedded in the political structure of city republics, this chapter traces the birth and development of bankruptcy law in northern Italian city-states to its institutional and political economy origins. It also discusses similar legal devices directed at the same problem—the Japanese debtor law developed under the Tokugawa, the Roman cession, and Islamic law.

Keywords:   bankruptcy law, medieval Europe, city republics, Japanese debtor law

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