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Guilds and mutual protection in England

Patrick Wallis ()

Economic History Working Papers from London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History

Abstract: Guilds made an important contribution to the provision of mutual welfare to their members in the Netherlands and some other parts of Europe, giving their members entitlements to support and assistance during periods of unemployment, sickness or disability. This paper explores the role guilds played in mutual insurance in early modern England. A study of the rules and practices of a range of guilds from London and provincial towns indicates that craft guilds in England had no visible involvement in providing mutual insurance during the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. They did, however, provide substantial volumes of charity, much of which was directed to members of the guild who fell into poverty. Mutual insurance emerged on a large scale in England with the Friendly Societies. However, there is no evidence that these Societies had any direct or indirect connection to craft guilds, except in seeking to project a form of conceptual kinship with a medieval fraternal past.

Keywords: guilds; insurance; friendly societies; charity; London; England; early modern (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D02 D64 L22 N33 N43 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 28 pages
Date: 2018-10-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-ias and nep-lma
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ehl:wpaper:90464

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