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.
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Series:||Cambridge Studies in Economic History - Second Series|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
About 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).
Table of Contents1. Merchant guilds, efficiency, and social capital
2. What was a merchant guild?
3. Local merchant guilds
4. Alien merchant guilds and companies
5. Merchant guilds and rulers
6. Commercial security
7. Contract enforcement
8. Principal-agent problems
10. Price volatility
11. Institutions, social capital and economic development.