How Markets in Europe Opened Up as Guild Monopolies Declined in the Sixteenth Century

Markets don’t function well if they are ridden with frictions like lack of information or lack of trust. A new working paper finds that cities in the sixteenth century where monopolies of densely networked merchant guilds declined had significantly higher levels of printing, as they were early adopters of printing technology. Additionally, these cities were found on the Atlantic coast, where traders had the greatest incentives to form new connections with unfamiliar traders.  

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