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

73 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2016 Last revised: 22 Dec 2021

See all articles by David de la Croix

David de la Croix

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES); Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

Matthias Doepke

Northwestern University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Joel Mokyr

Northwestern University - Department of Economics

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Date Written: March 2016

Abstract

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. We argue that superior institutions for the creation and dissemination of productive knowledge help explain the European advantage. We build a model of technological progress in a pre-industrial economy that emphasizes the person-to-person transmission of tacit knowledge. The young learn as apprentices from the old. Institutions such as the family, the clan, the guild, and the market organize who learns from whom. We argue that medieval European institutions such as guilds, and specific features such as journeymanship, can explain the rise of Europe relative to regions that relied on the transmission of knowledge within extended families or clans.

Suggested Citation

de la Croix, David and Doepke, Matthias and Mokyr, Joel, Clans, Guilds, and Markets: Apprenticeship Institutions and Growth in the Pre-Industrial Economy (March 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22131, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2758479

David De la Croix (Contact Author)

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.de-la-croix.be

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

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B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, b-1348
Belgium

Matthias Doepke

Northwestern University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Joel Mokyr

Northwestern University - Department of Economics ( email )

2003 Sheridan Road
2003 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
708-491-5693 (Phone)
708-491-7001 (Fax)

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