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Tolling the Rhine in 1254: Complementary Monopoly Revisted

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Gardner, Roy; Gaston, Noel; Masson, Robert T.
Date: 2002
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5220
Sector: History
Social Organization
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Europe
Subject(s): tourism
Rhine River
water management--history
Abstract: "Every year, millions of tourists, Colour Photoguide in hand, embark on a Rhine cruise. These tourists are touring not just picturesque historical landmarks but also the scene of interesting Nash equilibria. The castles and ruins mark the sites of former tolling stations along the Rhine River valley. History records that at one time or another during the millennium 800-1800, 79 different locations served as toll booths along the Rhine and its tributaries. The Rhine River was the major commercial thoroughfare in Western Europe during this time, and Rhine customs and tolls were a major source of revenue for the Holy Roman Empire. As such, the Emperors closely guarded the right to collect tolls. Such a right could be granted only by the Emperor. For instance, one well-documented tolling station that operated continuously throughout the Middle Ages, Koblenz, first got this right in 1018. Formally, the right to collect a toll had to be renewed with each new Emperor, and renewal was not automatic."

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