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The influence of spatial change on operational strategies in early-modern Dutch maritime shipping: a case-study on Dutch maritime shipping in the Gulf of Finland and on Archangel, 1703-1740

Scheltjens, Werner (2009): The influence of spatial change on operational strategies in early-modern Dutch maritime shipping: a case-study on Dutch maritime shipping in the Gulf of Finland and on Archangel, 1703-1740. Forthcoming in:

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Abstract

A fundamental discrepancy between neoclassical and institutional research approaches lies at the core of contrasting results in historical studies about maritime shipping and trade. However, there is one point on which both contrasting approaches agree: both of them see maritime shipping as a spin-off effect and even more often as an illustration of trade. Thus, the mere fact that maritime transportation is an economic activity in its own right is ignored. In this paper, I claim that in order to understand the foundation of St. Petersburg in function of its influence on Dutch maritime shipping an evolutionary theory and methodology need to be applied, since they can overcome the limitations of neoclassical and institutional approaches to economic history. The goal of this case-study is to understand the how spatial change affects maritime shipping. This goal serves a double purpose. Firstly, it makes an activity commonly seen as a spin-off effect of trade central to the analysis. Secondly, it makes the interaction between land and sea a core analytical issue. I carry out the study of the influence of spatial change on maritime shipping in a historical context, thus subscribing to Paul David’s claim to use the past as “a museum of interesting cases” that provides a better empirical basis than the present.

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