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Article
Religion, Longevity, and Cooperation: The Case of the Craft Guild
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (2009)
  • Gary Richardson, University of California, Irvine
Abstract

Whenthe mortality rate is high, repeated interaction alonemaynot sustain cooperation, and religion may play an important role in shaping economic institutions. This insight explains why during the fourteenth century, when plagues decimated populations and the church promoted the doctrine of purgatory, guilds that bundled together religious and occupational activities dominated manufacturing and commerce. During the sixteenth century, the disease environment eased, and the Reformation dispelled the doctrine of purgatory, necessitating the development of new methods of organizing industry. The logic underlying this conclusion has implications for the study of institutions, economics, and religion throughout history and in the developing world today.

Keywords
  • Craft guilds,
  • Christianity,
  • Purgatory,
  • Reformation,
  • Rational-choice,
  • Free rider
Publication Date
August, 2009
Citation Information
Gary Richardson. "Religion, Longevity, and Cooperation: The Case of the Craft Guild" Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization Vol. 71 Iss. 2 (2009)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gary_richardson/17/