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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, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 26 May 2020

Human Capital Investment

Human Capital Investment

(p.354) Chapter 7 Human Capital Investment
The European Guilds

Sheilagh Ogilvie

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores how guilds dealt with human capital investment, a second sphere in which markets are often thought to fail. Many guilds imposed comprehensive training requirements, as in the case of the seventeenth-century Toledo silk-twisters who justified their exclusive legal privileges on the grounds that “the art of silk is useful and has many secrets; because of the quality and secrets of the said art, no matter how deft a man may be, he cannot master them except through long practice and the passage of time.” The chapter then looks at the externalities and information asymmetries which could cause markets in human capital investment to fail, and the ways in which guilds regulated training in pre-industrial crafts and services.

Keywords:   guilds, human capital investment, market failures, comprehensive training, Toledo silk-twisters, information asymmetries

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