The process of state formation across the late medieval and early modern period was characterized not only by the growth of state institutions, the immediate environment of the prince also became more important as courts yielded more political influence. The economic impact of court life has, however, received only scarce attention. The so-called "capital city-effect" led to concentrations of wealthy consumers in the capital cities of the European states. Demand and supply were concentrated, stimulating the rise of primate cities in the urban network. This proposal wants, for the first time, 1° to measure the real impact court demand (+the aggregated demand of courtiers) played on capital city-effects, 2° to investigate how in the densely urbanized Low Countries court and elite demand generated patterns of meeting this demand, leading to specific market effects and
patterns of luxury production, and 3° look at how changing patterns of elite demand influenced opportunities for merchants and craftsmen. For sample periods, from the 14th to the early 17th century, it wants to assess how court demand interacted with the urban economies which increasingly geared towards the supply of services and commodities that demanded higher levels of
skill and specialisation. It wants to investigate how the rise of court demand interacted with the social organisation of cities, with the growing role of middling groups of specialist and (guild organised) urban craftsmen and retailers.