chapter  1
21 Pages

The extramercantile economy

An assessment of the New Institutional Economics paradigm in relation to recent studies of ancient Greece and Rome *
WithThomas R. Blanton, David B. Hollander

This chapter seeks to identify some of the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations inherent in the New Institutional Economics (NIE) model for the study of the ancient economy. The chapter proceeds in three major steps: (1) it briefly describes the historical process by which “economics” was increasingly restricted to the market economy, (2) it describes the emergence of NIE within the field of economics and its subsequent adoption in studies of Greek and Roman economies, and (3) it provides reasons why economic historians of ancient Greece and Rome should consider the significant role of extramercantile transmissions of goods and services – that is, transmissions that occur outside of the marketplace – as they develop and elaborate theoretical models of “the ancient economy.”