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States of CreditSize, Power, and the Development of European Polities$
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David Stasavage

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691140575

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691140575.001.0001

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Three City-State Experiences

Three City-State Experiences

(p.110) Chapter Six Three City-State Experiences
States of Credit

David Stasavage

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines public credit and political representation in three European city-states: Cologne, Genoa, and Siena. The goal is to identify the mechanisms at work that determined whether a state had access to credit and at what cost. The chapter considers how public debt was an issue of strong and often violent social conflict within city-states, along with the importance of political control by merchants. The experience of Cologne, Genoa, and Siena shows that there was nothing more effective in ensuring access to credit than being ruled by a merchant oligarchy. Evidence also suggests that when merchant control was challenged, this had negative consequences for access to credit.

Keywords:   public credit, political representation, city-states, Cologne, Genoa, Siena, public debt, social conflict, merchants, merchant oligarchy

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