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},
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… Expand
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