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Religion, longevity, and cooperation: The case of the craft guild

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  • Richardson, Gary
  • McBride, Michael

Abstract

When the mortality rate is high, repeated interaction alone may not sustain cooperation, and religion may play an important role in shaping economic institutions. This insight explains why during the fourteenth century, when plagues decimated populations and the church promoted the doctrine of purgatory, guilds that bundled together religious and occupational activities dominated manufacturing and commerce. During the sixteenth century, the disease environment eased, and the Reformation dispelled the doctrine of purgatory, necessitating the development of new methods of organizing industry. The logic underlying this conclusion has implications for the study of institutions, economics, and religion throughout history and in the developing world today.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 71 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 172-186

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:71:y:2009:i:2:p:172-186

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

Related research

Keywords: Craft guilds Christianity Purgatory Reformation Rational-choice Free rider;

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References

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  1. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Gary Richardson, 2008. "Brand Names Before the Industrial Revolution," NBER Working Papers 13930, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Greif, Avner, 1998. "Historical and Comparative Institutional Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 80-84, May.
  4. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
  5. Richardson, Gary, 2005. "The Prudent Village: Risk Pooling Institutions in Medieval English Agriculture," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(02), pages 386-413, June.
  6. Greif, Avner, 1992. "Institutions and International Trade: Lessons from the Commercial Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 128-33, May.
  7. Richardson, Gary, 2004. "Guilds, laws, and markets for manufactured merchandise in late-medieval England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 1-25, January.
  8. Greif, Avner & Milgrom, Paul & Weingast, Barry R, 1994. "Coordination, Commitment, and Enforcement: The Case of the Merchant Guild," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 745-76, August.
  9. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  10. Richardson, Gary, 2001. "A Tale of Two Theories: Monopolies and Craft Guilds in Medieval England and Modern Imagination," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(02), pages 217-242, June.
  11. Abramitzky, Ran, 2007. "The Limits of Equality: An Economic Analysis of the Israeli Kibbutz," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(02), pages 495-499, June.
  12. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  13. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
  14. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
  15. Robert Jerome & Kristina Terkun & Robert Horn & Bridget Butkevich, 2008. "Self-Flagellation and Utility Maximization," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 307-318.
  16. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-91, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Baele, Lieven & Farooq, Moazzam & Ongena, Steven, 2011. "Of Religion and Redemption: Evidence from Default on Islamic Loans," CEPR Discussion Papers 8504, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Baele, L. & Farooq, M. & Ongena, S., 2012. "Of Religion and Redemption: Evidence from Default on Islamic Loans (Replaces CentER DP 2010-136)," Discussion Paper 2012-014, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Vikas Kumar, 2013. "A model of secularism in the state of nature," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 1199-1212, February.
  4. Michael McBride & Stergios Skaperdas, 2009. "Conflict, Settlement, and the Shadow of the Future," CESifo Working Paper Series 2897, CESifo Group Munich.

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