Quantitative Studies of the Renaissance Florentine Economy and Society

Quantitative Studies of the Renaissance Florentine Economy and Society

By Richard T. Lindholm

Anthem Other Canon Economics

The book is a collection of nine quantitative studies about Renaissance Florentine economy and society. Topics include plague outbreaks, interest rates, wealth distribution, taxes and subsidies, art history, neighbourhood segregation, competitive markets and monopoly power, women’s work and business risk.

Paperback, 350 Pages

ISBN:9781785271267

August 2019

£25.00, $40.00

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links

About This Book

The book is a collection of nine quantitative studies – each probing one aspect of Renaissance Florentine economy and society. These are organized into three parts by topic, source material and analysis methods. Part one, on risk and return, contains two chapters. Chapter 1 studies Florentine plague outbreaks. Recent work has highlighted the incompatibility of evidence from written records with medical evidence. The chapter reconciles these approaches by using financial market evidence to interpret the written records. The next chapter examines a commonly used interest rate time series for Renaissance Florence. Significant literature has evolved during the past quarter century that measures interest rates to assess state formation trends in late medieval and early modern Europe. This chapter links financial theory and medieval law to better measure the Florentine interest rate, showing that the interest rate evidence used to date must be reconsidered.

The second part examines Florentine society. This part shows how Florentine occupations can be separated into two categories by comparing wealth levels and distributions; demonstrates that the architectural and artistic explosion during the mid-fifteenth century was the result of a subsidy – a tax loophole that exempted the home and its furnishings from an significant new tax, leading to a transfer of assets into art and architecture; finds that Florentine neighbourhoods remained integrated between the mid-fourteenth and late fifteenth centuries; and provides evidence that the modern life-cycle curve of wealth accumulation might not have held true in Renaissance Florence.

The final part looks at work – focusing specifically on the wool industry. It examines the historical structure of Florentine firms and offers a wide range of evidence to demonstrate that the industry’s firms were small and perfectly competitive with little monopoly power. It also demonstrates the value of dynamic data in understanding women’s work during the late medieval and early modern periods. Finally, it shows that the foundation of the Florentine cloth industry reduced the risk facing the individual company by relying on a combination of a guild organization and the putting-out production system – both systems that are rejected by economic theory as hopelessly inefficient.

Reviews

“Lindholm’s Quantitative Studies illuminates the underlying dynamics of plague mortality, residential patterns, home ownership, wealth distribution and women’s work in the wool industry in Renaissance Florence. Drawing on economic theory and advanced statistical methods, yet attentive to microhistorical contexts, this important book opens up new pathways for future research.” —Julius Kirshner, Professor Emeritus of Medieval and Renaissance History, University of Chicago, USA

Author Information

Richard T. Lindholm received a doctorate in history and in economics from the University of Chicago. He taught in the Department of Finance, Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon.

Series

Anthem Other Canon Economics

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations; Preface; Acknowledgments; List of Abbreviations; Introduction; Part I. Risks and Returns; Chapter One The Costs and Benefits of Running Away: Late Medieval Florentine Plague Mortality and Behavior; Chapter Two When Economic Theory Meets Medieval Contracts: Calculating the Monte Comune Interest Rate; Part II. Society; Chapter Three The Chances of Getting Rich in Renaissance Florence: The Wool Industry Occupational Wealth Hierarchy; Chapter Four Palaces and Workers: Neighborhood Residential Segregation in Renaissance Florence; Chapter Five The “State” Makes a Work of Art: The Impact of the Catasto Homeowner Tax Loophole on the Quattrocento Florentine Palazzo Building Boom; Chapter Six Not Getting Ahead in Life: The Lack of Life- Cycle Wealth Accumulation in Quattrocento Tuscany; Part III. Work; Chapter Seven Just Doing Business: Testing Competition in the Renaissance Florentine Wool Industry; Chapter Eight Time for It All: Women in the Renaissance Florentine Wool Industry; Chapter Nine Why Were Renaissance Florentine Wool Industry Companies So Small?; Conclusion; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.

Links

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