The Prudent Village: Risk Pooling Institutions in Medieval English Agriculture
AbstractThe prudent peasant mitigated the risk of crop failures by scattering his arable land throughout his village, Deirdre McCloskey argued, because alternative risk-sharing institutions did not exist. But, alternatives did exist, this essay concludes. Medieval English peasants formed two types of farmers cooperatives. Fraternities protected members from the perils of everyday life. Customary poor laws redistributed resources towards villagers beset by bad luck. In both institutions, the expectation of reciprocation motivated farmers with surpluses to aid neighbors with shortages.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.
Volume (Year): 65 (2005)
Issue (Month): 02 (June)
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