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Carnevali, F. (2010). Social capital and trade associations in America, c. 1860–1914: a microhistory approach. Economic History Review, 64 (3), 905–928

This microhistory explores the activities of one of the many trade associations created in the nineteenth century in the US. Qualitative evidence is used to engage with the concepts of competition, cooperation, and social capital. This article explores the reasons why cooperation emerged between competing economic agents, as an intended outcome of associational activity. It is argued that trade associations are forms of voluntary association consciously established to achieve economic aims and create networks of sociability. These, in turn, generated social capital used by economic agents to avoid ruinous competition and to capture political, economic, and social resources.


Carnevali, Francesca

As an economic and social historian I am interested in understanding how the forces of capitalism have shaped the lives of people and changed the structures of societies. My approach to history is comparative and this means that I spend most of my research time abroad, thanks to the generous...

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