Ora et Guberna. The Economic Impact of the Rule of St Benedict in Medieval England
36 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2019 Last revised: 7 Jun 2023
Date Written: May 17, 2019
We use historical data from the Domesday Book to investigate the impact of the landlord identity on economic performance, exploiting the land reshuffle that followed the Norman Conquest. We find that holdings whose lord became a Benedictine monastery experienced a higher growth rate in productive capacity than those with a new secular lord. This effect is mainly driven by holdings changing only the inferior level of the feudal structure and cannot be fully disentangled from the persistence of Benedictine overlordship during the Norman Conquest. We suggest that the governance structure of Benedictine monasteries may have played a role.
Keywords: Institutions, Growth, Religion, Monasteries, Norman Conquest, Medieval England
JEL Classification: N33 O43 Z12 D70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation