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The "Rabassa Morta" in Catalan viticulture: the rise and decline of a long-term sharecropping contract, 1670s-1920s

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  • Juan Carmona Pidal
  • James Simpson

Abstract

For long periods, and in line with recent theoretical literature, the rabassa morta sharecropping contract successfully reduced problems of moral hazard and opportunistic behavior, and provided incentives for sharecroppers to respond to market opportunities. However, from the late nineteenth century, technical change, rising wages, and weak wine prices all increased the incentives for postcontractual opportunistic behavior on the part of the sharecropper, leading to conflicts and loss of trust between the principal and agent. Under these conditions, contemporaries often considered the contract synonymous with "exploitation" and "impoverishment," terms frequently found in the more traditional literature on sharecropping.

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones in its series Working Papers in Economic History with number wh985902.

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Date of creation: Jun 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:wh985902

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  1. Otsuka, Keijiro & Chuma, Hiroyuki & Hayami, Yujiro, 1992. "Land and Labor Contracts in Agrarian Economies: Theories and Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 1965-2018, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Marc Badia-Miro & Enric Tello, 2013. "An agency-oriented model to explain vine-growing specialization in the province of Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain) in the mid-nineteenth century," Working Papers in Economics 290, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  2. Jordi Domènech Feliu & Thomas Jeffrey Miley, 2013. "Structural change, collective action, and social unrest in 1930s Spain," Working Papers in Economic History wp13-05, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.

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