NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Stefano Comino

Department of Economics and Statistics
University of Udine
Via Tomadini 30/A
33100 Udine
Italy

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Udine

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2017The Diffusion of New Institutions: Evidence from Renaissance Venice's Patent System
with Alberto Galasso, Clara Graziano: w24118
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 or...
 
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