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

39 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2003

See all articles by Sheilagh Ogilvie

Sheilagh Ogilvie

All Souls College, Oxford; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: December 2002

Abstract

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, the government, and the wider economy. Economic analyses of collective action, it is argued, can explain why guilds were so widespread while not necessarily being efficient.

Keywords: Guilds, Social Capital, Social Networks

JEL Classification: 010, N40, D7, D23, L4

Suggested Citation

Ogilvie, Sheilagh, Guilds, Efficiency, and Social Capital - Evidence from German Proto-Industry (December 2002). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=367167 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.367167

Sheilagh Ogilvie (Contact Author)

All Souls College, Oxford ( email )

All Souls College
Oxford, OX1 4AL
United Kingdom
44-7799-870245 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.asc.ox.ac.uk/person/3498

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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