This article examines the economic institution utilized during the eleventh century to facilitate complex trade characterized by asymmetric information and limited legal contract enforceability. The geniza documents are employed to present the "coalition," an economic institution based upon a reputation mechanism utilized by Mediterranean traders to confront the organizational problem associated with the exchange relations between merchants and their overseas agents. The theoretical framework explains many trade-related phenomena, especially why traders utilized specific forms of business association, and indicates the interrelations between social and economic institutions.
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