Can We Rehabilitate the Guilds? A Sceptical Re-Appraisal
AbstractThis paper examines recent attempts to rehabilitate pre-modern craft guilds as efficient economic institutions. Contrary to rehabilitation views, craft guilds adversely affected quality, skills, and innovation. Guild rent-seeking imposed deadweight losses on the economy and generated no demonstrable positive externalities. Industry flourished where guilds decayed. Despite impairing efficiency, guilds persisted because they redistributed resources to powerful groups. The ‘rehabilitation’ view of guilds, it concludes, is theoretically contradictory and empirically untenable.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0745.
Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm
Institutions; guilds; rent-seeking; monopoly; craft; industry; quality; human capital; training; technology; innovation; economic history; methodology; local studies; case studies.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
- N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
- O17 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
- O43 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
- P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-09-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2007-09-24 (Development)
- NEP-HIS-2007-09-24 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-HPE-2007-09-24 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
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