November 8, 2011

The Hanseatic League As a Functional Overlapping Competing Jurisdiction

Alexander Fink, University of Leipzig, has published The Hanseatic League and the Concept of Functional Overlapping Competing Jurisdictions. Here is the abstract.

In light of the concept of functional overlapping competing jurisdictions (FOCJ) discussed by Frey and Eichenberger (1996, 1999, 2000) I analyze the Hanseatic League; the medieval association of northern European traders and cities that existed from the 12th to the 17th century. I show that the Hanseatic League came close to representing an example of a FOCJ. But in contrast to the FOCJ outlined by Frey and Eichenberger, I find that the polycentric Hanseatic League was not a political authority with the power to tax and regulate its members. The arrangements between the members of the Hanseatic League therefore had to be self-enforcing. Building on my investigation of the Hanseatic League, I further provide a general discussion of the costs and benefits of a central political authority in a system of functional overlapping competing units.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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