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Other titles in the Rural History in Europe series:
Rural History in Europe #1: Property Rights, Land Markets and Economic Growth in the European Countryside (13th-14th Centuries)by Phillip Schofield
Synopses & Reviews
By exploring the fundamental issues of property rights and markets in land, this book will offer important insights into long-term economic change in Europe. The essays gathered here provide a major consideration of the institutional constraints which can be employed by historians and other commentators in order to explain both the slowness or even absence of growth in certain areas of the European economy between the thirteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as the discrete experiences of countries within Europe in this broad period. This is an issue of current interest not least because discussion of 'institutional determinism' has become a standard of explanations of historical and economic change; that said, those promoting such approach have sometimes been criticised for generalising from an 'institutional' perspective rather than taking full account of the variety of potential causative explanations within particular historical contexts. The present collection of essays will therefore explore the conditions which permitted the progress of agriculture in Europe and the emergence of capitalism in the countryside. The research presented in this volume helps to demonstrate that changes in the market (demand, relative prices...) encouraged changes in property rights but certainly did not do so in ways that were consistent or that led inexorably towards individual and exclusive rights of the kind described by the nineteenth-century liberal paradigm.
By scrutinizing the key question of property rights and of market in land, the book will provide some keys to understand economic change in Europe in the long run. It gives serious consideration to institutional constraints as key explanations for the slowness or absence of growth between the thirteenth and nineteenth centuries. It intends to assess the significance of institutions as decisive factors in explanations for the relatively slow development of certain countries. The problem is rather acute insofar recent researches have added nuanced perspective to the issue of 'institutional determinism', a concept which has been accused of failing to take full account of the variety within processes of evolution. In so doing, the book will explore the conditions which permitted the progress of agriculture in Europe and the emergence of capitalism in the countryside. It helps to demonstrate that changes in the market (demand, relative prices, etc.) promote changes in property rights but that it is very doubtful that these changes always take the same direction, towards the inevitable individual and exclusive rights described by the 19th century liberal paradigm.
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