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Ulf Christian Ewert & Marco Sunder: Modelling Maritime Trade Systems: Agent-Based Simulation and Medieval History. [Abstract]

Maritime trade grew enormously in Europe after c. 1100 AD, thereby contributing much to the European economic take-off commonly considered as the “Commercial Revolution of the Middle Ages.” In this article, determinants of both the formation of the Hanse’s network-based system of trade in Northern Europe and its later dissolution are analysed using a multi-agent model. Findings are connected to the discussion in institutional economics and economic history concerning the importance of institutional developments in long-distance trade for economic growth in medieval Europe, the efficiency of self-enforcing institutions, and the divergence of institutional arrangements in medieval maritime trade. Finally, both potentials and limitations of agent-based models for historical research are discussed.

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