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Can We Rehabilitate the Guilds? A Sceptical Re-Appraisal

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  • Ogilvie, S.

Abstract

This 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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File URL: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/research/repec/cam/pdf/cwpe0745.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0745.

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Length: 24
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0745

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Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm

Related research

Keywords: Institutions; guilds; rent-seeking; monopoly; craft; industry; quality; human capital; training; technology; innovation; economic history; methodology; local studies; case studies.;

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Cited by:
  1. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Cantoni & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2009. "The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution," NBER Working Papers 14831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2007. "'Whatever Is, Is Right'?, Economic Institutions in Pre-Industrial Europe (Tawney Lecture 2006)," CESifo Working Paper Series 2066, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. repec:cge:warwcg:175 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Klein, Alexander & Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2013. "Occupational Structure in the Czech Lands Under the Second Serfdom," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 176, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

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