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Book Chapter

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This chapter examines the internal economic organization of the peculium servi communis — that is, of separate business assets assigned to a slave — and its (external) relationships with creditors. Literary, legal, and epigraphic evidence points predominantly to businesses of small or medium size, suggesting that there must have been some constraints to growth. We identify both agency problems arising within the business organization (governance problems) and agency problems arising between the business organization and its creditors (limited access to credit). We suggest that, although the praetorian remedies had a remarkable mitigating effect, agency problems operated as a constraint to the expansion of these business organizations, both in terms of the number of individuals involved and in terms of the amount of capital invested.


Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | European History | Law