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Paper #1885

The medieval church and the foundations of impersonal exchange
Benito Arruñada y Lucas López-Manuel
Abril 2024
By refining the moral code and enforcing it through the new 'mendicant' orders, the Church of the 13th century laid the cognitive, interpersonal, and institutional groundwork for large-scale cooperation based on one-shot transactions between strangers. However, net outcomes at these three levels stem from opposite-sign effects coherent with the specialization of specific branches within the Church: while exposure to Dominicans had positive effects on traits favoring impersonal exchange, consistent with their emphasis on rationality, exposure to Franciscans had negative effects, related to their emotionality, and favoring personal exchange. Moreover, the effects of exposure to the secular clergy were insignificant. Our causal identification relies on refuting multiple confounders, comparing second-generation migrants, and leveraging withincountry differences in mendicants'exposure in Europe and Mesoamerica.
Palabras clave:
Cultural change, values, institutions, religion, Catholic Church, persistence, Late Middle Ages
Códigos JEL:
O10, Z12, Z13
Área de investigación:
Economía de la Empresa y Organización Industrial

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