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Full-Text Articles in Economic History

The Prudent Village: Risk Pooling Institutions In Medieval English Agriculture, Gary Richardson May 2005

The Prudent Village: Risk Pooling Institutions In Medieval English Agriculture, Gary Richardson

Gary Richardson

The prudent peasant mitigated the risk of crop failures by scattering his arable land throughout his village, Deirdre McCloskey argued, because alternative risksharing institutions did not exist. But, alternatives did exist, this essay concludes. Medieval English peasants formed two types of farmers’ cooperatives. Fraternities protected members from the perils of everyday life. Customary poor laws redistributed resources towards villagers beset by bad luck. In both institutions, the expectation of reciprocation motivated farmers with surpluses to aid neighbors with shortages.


Christianity And Craft Guilds In Late Medieval England: A Rational Choice Analysis, Gary Richardson Apr 2005

Christianity And Craft Guilds In Late Medieval England: A Rational Choice Analysis, Gary Richardson

Gary Richardson

In late-medieval England, craft guilds simultaneously pursued piety and profit. Why did guilds pursue those seemingly unrelated goals? What were the consequences of that combination? Theories of organizational behavior answer those questions. Craft guilds combined spiritual and occupational endeavors because the former facilitated the success of the latter and vice versa. The reciprocal nature of this relationship linked the ability of guilds to attain spiritual and occupational goals. This link between religion and economics at the local level connected religious and economic trends in the wider world.