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The European Guilds$
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Sheilagh Ogilvie

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691137544

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691137544.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 14 June 2021

Quality Regulation

Quality Regulation

(p.307) Chapter 6 Quality Regulation
The European Guilds

Sheilagh Ogilvie

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines one major market failure that guilds might have helped solve: the potential for information asymmetries between producers and consumers about the quality of goods and services. Many guilds erected market regulations. To address such concerns, guilds required producers and products to be guild-certified, inspected workshops or wares, and penalized quality violations. Guilds also engaged in many unrelated activities which affected quality unintentionally. The chapter then assesses the evidence on information asymmetries about quality, the institutional mechanisms available to solve them, and the outcomes in different sectors of the European economy. It argues that guilds shed light on the balance between market failures, state failures, and the failure of particularized institutions in intermediating between producers and consumers.

Keywords:   market failure, guilds, information asymmetries, producers, consumers, market regulations, quality violations, European economy, state failures

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