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Established Clergy, Friars and the Pope: Some Institutional Economics of the Medieval Church

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  • Dieter Schmidtchen
  • Achim Mayer

Abstract

The medieval Church is viewed as a franchise system. The paper analyzes the licensing of the friars as an institutional innovation which the popes of the 13th century initiated in order to appropriate the rents made possible both by the systematic development of the concept of purgatory and the introduction of resale price maintenance for indulgencies and penances. Using a game theoretic approach it can be shown that this institutional change forms a subgame perfect equilibrium. Historical evidence supports the predictions generated by the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Dieter Schmidtchen & Achim Mayer, 1997. "Established Clergy, Friars and the Pope: Some Institutional Economics of the Medieval Church," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 153(1), pages 122-122, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(199703)153:1_122:ecfatp_2.0.tx_2-t
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Benito Arrunada, "undated". "Catholic Confessions of Sin as Third Party Moral Enforcement," Gruter Institute Working Papers on Law, Economics, and Evolutionary Biology 3-1-1013, Berkeley Electronic Press.
    2. Koyama, Mark, 2010. "Evading the 'Taint of Usury': The usury prohibition as a barrier to entry," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 420-442, October.
    3. Pedro Pita Barros & Nuno Garoupa, 2002. "An Economic Theory Of Church Strictness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(481), pages 559-576, July.
    4. Rost, Katja & Graetzer, Gitte, 2014. "Multinational Organizations as Rule-following Bureaucracies — The Example of Catholic Orders," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 290-311.
    5. Benito Arruñada, 2003. "Specialization and rent-seeking in moral enforcement: The case of confession," Economics Working Papers 653, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2009.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship

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