This article studies financial schemes for building public works in the 1840s. The study of the Portuguese case clearly illustrates the importance of implicit contracts with governments in peripheral Europe, shedding light on solutions for financing the provision of public goods. Building roads and railways seems to have been the fruit of an implicit contract behind the tobacco monopoly in a country involved in social turmoil and civil wars. Reputation effects are called to explain the relevant range of the partners' negotiations, to reject the traditional historiography based on wrong management and speculation in a period of savage capitalism.
- financing public goods
- feasibility of self-enforcement contracts
- implicit contracts
- business in nineteenth-century peripheral Europe