NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

The Diffusion of New Institutions: Evidence from Renaissance Venice's Patent System

Stefano Comino, Alberto Galasso, Clara Graziano

NBER Working Paper No. 24118
Issued in December 2017
NBER Program(s):Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

What factors affect the diffusion of new economic institutions? This paper examines this question by exploiting the introduction of the first regularized patent system, which appeared in the Venetian Republic in 1474. We begin by developing a model that links patenting activity of craft guilds with provisions in their statutes. The model predicts that guild statutes that are more effective at preventing outsiders' entry and at mitigating price competition lead to less patenting. We test this prediction on a new dataset that combines detailed information on craft guilds and patents in the Venetian Republic during the Renaissance. We find a negative association between patenting activity and guild statutory norms that strongly restrict entry and price competition. We show that guilds that originated from medieval religious confraternities were more likely to regulate entry and competition, and that the effect on patenting is robust to instrumenting guild statutes with their quasi-exogenous religious origin. We also find that patenting was more widespread among guilds geographically distant from Venice, and among guilds in cities with lower political connections, which we measure by exploiting a new database of noble families and their marriages with members of the great council. Our analysis suggests that local economic and political conditions may have a substantial impact on the diffusion of new economic institutions.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24118

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Acemoglu, De Feo, and De Luca w24115 Weak States: Causes and Consequences of the Sicilian Mafia
Pierce and Schott w24071 Investment Responses to Trade Liberalization: Evidence from U.S. Industries and Plants
Gross w24125 Scale versus Scope in the Diffusion of New Technology: Evidence from the Farm Tractor
Nunn, Qian, and Wen w24187 Distrust and Political Turnover
Moscona, Nunn, and Robinson w24209 Social Structure and Conflict: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us