Social Capital and Collusion : The Case of Merchant Guilds
AbstractMerchant guilds have been portrayed as âsocial networksâ that generated beneficial âsocial capitalâ by sustaining shared norms, effectively transmitting information, and successfully undertaking collective action. This social capital, it is claimed, benefited society as a whole by enabling rulers to commit to providing a secure trading environment for alien merchants. But was this really the case? We develop a new model of the emergence, rise, and eventual decline of European merchant guilds, which explores the collusive relationship between rulers and guilds, and calls into question the prevailing positive view of merchant guilds. We then confront the modelâs predictions with the available historical data. The empirical evidence strongly supports our model, and refutes existing theories. Our findings show that merchant guilds used their social capital for socially harmful as well as beneficial ends.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 214.
Date of creation: 2003
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Other versions of this item:
- Roberta Dessí & Sheilagh Olgivie, 2003. "Social Capital and Collusion: The Case of Merchant Guilds," CESifo Working Paper Series 1037, CESifo Group Munich.
- Dessi, R. & Ogilvie, S., 2004. "Social Capital and Collusion: The Case of Merchant Guilds," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0417, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
- N73 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: Pre-1913
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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- Ogilvie, Sheilagh & Carus, A.W., 2014. "Institutions and Economic Growth in Historical Perspective," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 8, pages 403-513 Elsevier.
- Dessi, Roberta & Piccolo, Salvatore, 2009.
"Two is Company, N is a Crowd? Merchant Guilds and Social Capital,"
IDEI Working Papers
529, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Jun 2013.
- Roberta Dessì & Salvatore Piccolo, 2008. "Two is Company, N is a Crowd? Merchant Guilds and Social Capital," CSEF Working Papers 202, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 12 Jul 2009.
- Dessi, Roberta & Piccolo, Salvatore, 2009. "Two is Company, N is a Crowd? Merchant Guilds and Social Capital," TSE Working Papers 09-059, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Jun 2013.
- Dessí, Roberta & Piccolo, Salvatore, 2009. "Two is Company, N is a Crowd? Merchant Guilds and Social Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 7374, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2007. "'Whatever Is, Is Right'?, Economic Institutions in Pre-Industrial Europe (Tawney Lecture 2006)," CESifo Working Paper Series 2066, CESifo Group Munich.
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