IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper

Two is Company, N is a Crowd? Merchant Guilds and Social Capital

  • Dessi, Roberta
  • Piccolo, Salvatore

We develop a theory of the emergence of merchant guilds as an efficient mechanism to foster cooperation between merchants and rulers, building on the natural complementarity between merchants’ market trading and mutual monitoring. Unlike existing models, we focus on local merchant guilds, rather than alien guilds, accounting for the main observed features of their behavior, internal organization and relationship with rulers. Our model delivers novel predictions about guilds’ size, membership restrictions, and their welfare implications. Moreover, it identifies the main channels through which the guilds’ social capital influenced their ability to cooperate effectively with rulers. As we argue, the available historical evidence offers support for our theory. We also extend the model to analyze the key trade-offs faced by rulers in choosing whether to grant recognition to one or multiple guilds. This provides a rationale for the establishment of both local and alien merchant guilds, helping us to understand the observed distribution of guilds and their characteristics.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://idei.fr/sites/default/files/medias/doc/by/dessi/dessipiccolo_04_06_13.pdf
File Function: Full text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 529.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision: Jun 2013
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:9571
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Manufacture des Tabacs, Aile Jean-Jacques Laffont, 21 Allée de Brienne, 31000 TOULOUSE

Phone: +33 (0)5 61 12 85 89
Fax: + 33 (0)5 61 12 86 37
Web page: http://www.idei.fr/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Butler, Jeff & Giuliano, Paola & Guiso, Luigi, 2009. "The Right Amount of Trust," CEPR Discussion Papers 7461, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 1999. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," NBER Working Papers 7155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Oliver Volckart & Antje Mangels, 1999. "Are the Roots of the Modern Lex Mercatoria Really Medieval?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 427-450, January.
  4. Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 1999. "Social relations and cooperation in organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-25, January.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "An Economic Approach to Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 437-458, November.
  6. Roberta Dessí & Sheilagh Olgivie, 2003. "Social Capital and Collusion: The Case of Merchant Guilds," CESifo Working Paper Series 1037, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2004. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," NBER Working Papers 10313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Trust in Large Organizations," NBER Working Papers 5864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bardhan, Pranab, 1996. "The Nature of Institutional Impediments to Economic Development," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers 233429, University of California-Berkeley, Department of Economics.
  10. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Scholarly Articles 4553005, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "The Role of Social Capital in Financial Development," CRSP working papers 511, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  12. Joseph E. Harrington, Jr, 2006. "Modelling the Birth and Death of Cartels with an Application to Evaluating Antitrust Policy," Economics Working Paper Archive 532, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  13. Joel Sobel, 2002. "Can We Trust Social Capital?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 139-154, March.
  14. Bardhan, Pranab, 1996. "The Nature of Institutional Impediments to Economic Development," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt8w12j7q1, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  15. Ogilvie,Sheilagh, 2011. "Institutions and European Trade," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747929, june. pag.
  16. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
  17. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  18. Chen, Zhijun & Rey, Patrick, 2007. "On the Design of Leniency Programs," IDEI Working Papers 452, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Jan 2012.
  19. Joseph E. Harrington & Myong-Hun Chang, 2009. "Modeling the Birth and Death of Cartels with an Application to Evaluating Competition Policy," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1400-1435, December.
  20. Richardson, G., 2000. "A Tale of Two Theories: Monopolies and Craft Guilds in Medieval England and Modern Imagination," Papers 00-01-10, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  21. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
  22. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
  23. 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.
  24. Reynolds, Robert L., 1945. "In Search of a Business Class in Thirteenth-Century Genoa," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(S1), pages 1-19, December.
  25. Ran Abramitzky, 2008. "The Limits of Equality: Insights from the Israeli Kibbutz," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1111-1159.
  26. Lopez, Robert Sabatino, 1943. "European Merchants in the Medieval Indies: The Evidence of Commercial Documents," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 164-184, November.
  27. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  28. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:9571. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.