The Medieval Church and the Foundations of Impersonal Exchange

Pompeu Fabra University Economics and Business Working Paper Series no. 1885 2024

32 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2024

See all articles by Benito Arruñada

Benito Arruñada

Pompeu Fabra University - Department of Economics and Business; Barcelona GSE

Lucas Lopez-Manuel

University of Vigo - Faculty of Economics and Business

Date Written: April 25, 2024

Abstract

By refining the moral code and enforcing it through the new ‘mendicant’ orders, the Church of the 13th century laid the cognitive, interpersonal, and institutional groundwork for large-scale cooperation based on one-shot transactions between strangers. However, net outcomes at these three levels stem from opposite-sign effects coherent with the specialization of specific branches within the Church: while exposure to Dominicans had positive effects on traits favoring impersonal exchange, consistent with their emphasis on rationality, exposure to Franciscans had negative effects, related to their emotionality, and favoring personal exchange. Moreover, the effects of exposure to the secular clergy were insignificant. Our causal identification relies on refuting multiple confounders, comparing second-generation migrants, and leveraging within-country differences in mendicants’ exposure in Europe and Mesoamerica.

Keywords: cultural change, values, institutions, religion, Catholic Church, persistence, Late Middle Ages

JEL Classification: O10, Z12, Z13

Suggested Citation

Arruñada, Benito and Lopez-Manuel, Lucas, The Medieval Church and the Foundations of Impersonal Exchange (April 25, 2024). Pompeu Fabra University Economics and Business Working Paper Series no. 1885 2024, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4717940 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4717940

Benito Arruñada (Contact Author)

Pompeu Fabra University - Department of Economics and Business ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Department of Economics and Business
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
+34 93 542 25 72 (Phone)
+34 93 542 17 46 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.upf.edu/~arrunada

Barcelona GSE ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

Lucas Lopez-Manuel

University of Vigo - Faculty of Economics and Business ( email )

Campus Marcosende
Vigo, Ourense 36206
Spain

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