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Labor Compensation in the Portuguese and Dutch Merchant Empires

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact D'Maris Coffman.

The different organizational structure of the Portuguese and Dutch merchant empires affected their ability to monitor workers. I test the theoretical implications of these differences using micro data of overseas workers’ compensation from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. The two merchant empires used significantly different compensation structures: working for the king of Portugal corresponded on average to a bonus-wage ratio twice as high as than that of the Dutch East India Company. These results are consistent with theoretical implications and provide additional support to the historical evidence we have on the organizational structure of merchant empires.

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This talk is part of the Financial History Seminar series.

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