Origins of Political Change. The Case of Late Medieval Guild Revolts

EHES Working Papers in Economic History, No. 69

53 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2014 Last revised: 24 Jul 2015

See all articles by Fabian Wahl

Fabian Wahl

University of Hohenheim - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 14, 2014

Abstract

This study investigates the origins of the guild revolts in late medieval central Europe. At first, using newly compiled city level data, their temporal evolution and spatial distribution is discussed. Afterwards, the paper provides a historical discussion and empirical analysis of their origins. The results show that pre-existing city-level political institutions and location in a large territorial state were important for the emergence of late medieval guild revolts. Furthermore, the agricultural productivity of the region around a city matters in a negative way confirming the role of the late medieval agricultural crisis in the outbreak of the revolts. Other important factors are a city’s urban environment and market potential, its degree of autonomy and its commercial, industrial as well as political importance. This suggests that economic change can trigger political changes. I also found evidence for the existence of spatial spillovers from the developments in neighboring cities implying that rational strategic considerations played a role in the spread of the revolts.

Keywords: Late Medieval, Early-Modern Period, Political Institutions, Political Change, Guild Revolts, Cities

JEL Classification: N44, N94, O10, R11, H11, D72

Suggested Citation

Wahl, Fabian, Origins of Political Change. The Case of Late Medieval Guild Revolts (November 14, 2014). EHES Working Papers in Economic History, No. 69, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2527798 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2527798

Fabian Wahl (Contact Author)

University of Hohenheim - Department of Economics ( email )

Wollgrasweg 49
Stuttgart, 70599
Germany
+49711-45924405 (Phone)

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