Guilds, Efficiency, and Social Capital: Evidence from German Proto-Industry

  title={Guilds, Efficiency, and Social Capital: Evidence from German Proto-Industry},
  author={Sheilagh Ogilvie},
  journal={European Economics eJournal},
  • Sheilagh Ogilvie
  • Published 1 December 2002
  • Economics, History
  • European Economics eJournal
This paper analyzes an early modern German economy to test alternative theories about guilds. It finds little evidence to support recent hypotheses arguing that guilds corrected market failures relating to product quality, training, and innovation. But it finds that guilds were social networks that generated a social capital of shared norms, common information, mutual sanctions, and collective political action. Guilds’ social capital affected rival producers, suppliers, employees, consumers… 

Social Capital and Collusion : The Case of Merchant Guilds ( Long Version ) ¤

Merchant guilds have been portrayed as \social networks" that generated bene ̄cial \social capital" by sustaining shared norms, e®ectively transmitting information, and successfully undertaking

The Economics of Guilds

Occupational guilds in medieval and early modern Europe offered an effective institutional mechanism whereby two powerful groups, guild members and political elites, could collaborate in capturing a

Plenty of trust, not much cooperation: social capital and collective action in early twentieth century eastern Spain

Social capital—defined here as the norms and networks that create the necessary trust for people to cooperate to solve collective-action problems—also has negative effects. They are usually a

Information Asymmetries and Craft Guilds in Pre‐Modern Markets: Evidence from Italian Proto‐Industry

This article analyses the relationship between guilds and information asymmetries using a large database of quality disputes from early modern Italy. It finds that a high-quality urban textile

Clans, Guilds, and Markets: Apprenticeship Institutions and Growth in the Pre-Industrial Economy

In the centuries leading up to the Industrial Revolution, Western Europe gradually pulled ahead of other world regions in terms of technological creativity, population growth, and income per capita.

Social Capital and Trade Associations in America, C. 1860–1914: A Microhistory Approach

This microhistory explores the activities of one of the many trade associations created in the nineteenth century in the US. Qualitative evidence is used to engage with the concepts of competition,

Aboa Centre for Economics

Endogenous preferences, emotions, and the breaking of social capital into economics The creation and effects of social capital have seldom been a target for systematic analysis in orthodox economics.

'Whatever is, is Right'? Economic Institutions in Pre-Industrial Europe

Institutions – the structures of rules and norms governing economic transactions – are widely assigned a central role in economic development. Yet economic history is still dominated by the belief

Socio-economic institutions and transaction costs: merchant guilds and rural trade in eighteenth-century Lower Silesia

There is a lively ongoing debate, led by Stephen Epstein and Sheilagh Ogilvie, about the economic effects of institutions (particularly guilds) on the pre-industrial economies. The focus of the



Social Capital and Collusion: The Case of Merchant Guilds

Merchant guilds have been portrayed as ‘social networks’ that generated beneficial ‘social capital’ by sustaining shared norms, effectively transmitting information, and successfully undertaking

State Corporatism and Proto-Industry: The Württemberg Black Forest, 1580-1797

Acknowledgements 1. Introduction 2. The proto-industrialization debate 3. Social institutions in early modern Wurttemberg 4. The Black Forest worsted industry 5. The finances of the proto-industrial

Coordination, Commitment, and Enforcement: The Case of the Merchant Guild

We interpret historical evidence in light of a repeated-game model to conclude that merchant guilds emerged during the late medieval period to allow rulers of trade centers to commit to the security

Social capital : a multifaceted perspective

This book provides an account of the current understanding of social capital. It covers both theoretical and empirical studies, and the concept is debated throughout. Also included in this volume is

Social Capital

This paper surveys research on social capital. We explore the concepts that motivate the social capital literature, efforts to formally model social capital using economic theory, the econometrics of

The Theory of Human Capital Revisited: On the Interaction of General and Specific Investments

Human capital theory distinguishes between training in general-usage and firm-specific skills. In his seminal work, Becker (1964) argues that employers will not be willing to invest in general

Fighting for Talent: Risk-Shifting, Corporate Volatility, and Organizational Change

In the nineties, average firm size decreased, organizations decentralized, and workers preferences shifted from large to small firms. Our model identifies the economic forces behind this trend. Small

The Economic Welfare Cost of Conflict: An Empirical Assessment

  • G. Hess
  • Economics
    SSRN Electronic Journal
  • 2003
War, whether external or internal, large or small, is a costly endeavor. Loss of life, loss of close friends or family, and the destruction of material possessions all play a part in the costs of

Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy

C A P I T A L IS M and socialism are generally taken to be irreconcilable opposites, and the conflict between their adherents has seemed so intense as to threaten the survival of the human species.