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The Prudent Village: Risk Pooling Institutions in Medieval English Agriculture

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  • RICHARDSON, GARY

Abstract

The 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 Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 65 (2005)
Issue (Month): 02 (June)
Pages: 386-413

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:65:y:2005:i:02:p:386-413_00

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Cited by:
  1. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2007. "'Whatever Is, Is Right'?, Economic Institutions in Pre-Industrial Europe (Tawney Lecture 2006)," CESifo Working Paper Series 2066, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Matthew T. Gregg, 2009. "Cultural Persistence as Behavior Towards Risk: Evidence from the North Carolina Cherokees, 1850-1880," Journal of Income Distribution, Journal of Income Distribution, vol. 18(2), pages 3-15, June.
  3. Stefan Mann & Henry W├╝stemann, 2010. "Efficiency and utility: an evolutionary perspective," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(9), pages 676-685, September.
  4. Ogilvie, Sheilagh & Carus, A.W., 2014. "Institutions and Economic Growth in Historical Perspective," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 8, pages 403-513 Elsevier.
  5. Dan Bogart & Gary Richardson, 2011. "Property Rights and Parliament in Industrializing Britain," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(2), pages 241 - 274.
  6. Greif, Avner & Iyigun, Murat & Sasson, Diego, 2011. "Risk, Institutions and Growth: Why England and Not China?," IZA Discussion Papers 5598, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Gary Richardson & Michael McBride, 2008. "Religion, Longevity, and Cooperation: The Case of the Craft Guild," NBER Working Papers 14004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ruben Durante, 2010. "Risk, Cooperation and the Economic origins of social Trust: an empirical Investigation," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompq, Sciences Po.
  9. Srinivas, Smita, 2010. "Industrial welfare and the state: nation and city reconsidered," MPRA Paper 52651, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Christopher Gerrard & David Petley, 2013. "A risk society? Environmental hazards, risk and resilience in the later Middle Ages in Europe," Natural Hazards, International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 69(1), pages 1051-1079, October.
  11. Greif, Avner & Iyigun, Murat, 2013. "What Did the Old Poor Law Really Accomplish? A Redux," IZA Discussion Papers 7398, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompqllr09iatsh0to2 is not listed on IDEAS

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