Institutions and European Trade: Merchant Guilds, 1000-1800

Institutions and European Trade: Merchant Guilds, 1000-1800

by Sheilagh Ogilvie
     
 

What was the role of merchant guilds in the medieval and early modern economy? Does their wide prevalence and long survival mean they were efficient institutions that benefited the whole economy? Or did they simply offer an effective way for the rich and powerful to increase their wealth, at the expense of outsiders, customers and society as a whole? These privileged…  See more details below

Overview

What was the role of merchant guilds in the medieval and early modern economy? Does their wide prevalence and long survival mean they were efficient institutions that benefited the whole economy? Or did they simply offer an effective way for the rich and powerful to increase their wealth, at the expense of outsiders, customers and society as a whole? These privileged associations of businessmen were key institutions in the European economy from 1000 to 1800. Historians debate merchant guilds' role in the Commercial Revolution, economists use them to support theories about institutions and development, and policy-makers view them as prime examples of social capital, with important lessons for modern economies. Sheilagh Ogilvie's magisterial new history of commercial institutions shows how the answers to such questions can help us understand which types of institution made trade grow, why institutions exist, and how corporate privileges affect economic efficiency and human well-being.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
''this is a very important book that gives rise to a number of highly significant questions for future research." -Reviews in History, Shami Ghosh

"Ogilvie’s conclusion has profound implications for the study of economic institutions, and that is what makes this an important book — one might even call it a game-changer." -EH-Net, Donald J.Harreld

"Sheilagh Ogilvie offers an erudite critique of the medieval and early modern merchant guilds, so often defended in academic debates." -Gladden J. Pappin, Journal of Markets and Morality

"This book not only effectively demolishes the efficiency thesis regarding merchant guilds, but, more importantly, also provides a framework for analysing institutional change, and it will define the terms of how social institutions should be researched and evaluated for years to come." -Economic History Review.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521747929
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
03/31/2011
Series:
Cambridge Studies in Economic History - Second Series
Pages:
500
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Sheilagh Ogilvie is Professor of Economic History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of the British Academy. Her prize-winning publications include State Corporatism and Proto-Industry: The Württemberg Black Forest 1590–1797 (Cambridge University Press, 1997, winner of the Gyorgy Ranki Prize 1999) and A Bitter Living: Women, Markets, and Social Capital in Early Modern Germany (2003, winner of the René Kuczynski Prize 2004).

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