Clans, guilds, and markets: Apprenticeship institutions and growth in the preindustrial economy

David De La Croix, Matthias Doepke, Joel Mokyr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the centuries leading up to the Industrial Revolution, Western Europe gradually pulled ahead of other world regions in terms of technological creativity, population growth, and income per capita. We argue that superior institutions for the creation and dissemination of productive knowledge help explain the European advantage. We build a model of technological progress in a preindustrial economy that emphasizes the person-to-person transmission of tacit knowledge. The young learn as apprentices from the old. Institutions such as the family, the clan, the guild, and the market organize who learns from whom. We argue that medieval European institutions such as guilds, and specific features such as journeymanship, can explain the rise of Europe relative to regions that relied on the transmission of knowledge within closed kinship systems (extended families or clans).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-70
Number of pages70
JournalQuarterly Journal of Economics
Volume133
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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