The “Rabassa Morta” in Catalan Viticulture: The Rise and Decline of a Long-Term Sharecropping Contract, 1670s–1920s
We examine the working of a sharecropping contract, the "rabassa morta". We argue, in line with much of recent theoretical work, that the contract was originally efficient, because it reduced problems of moral hazard and opportunistic behaviour, and provided sharecroppers with sufficient incentives to respond to market opportunities, for over a couple of centuries. However, from the late nineteenth century, the combination of technical change, rising wages, weak wine prices all increased the incentives for postcontractual opportunistic behaviour on the pan of the sharecropper, leading to conflicts and an undennining of the trust that had been built up over the previous centuries. Therefore, by the early 1920s the contract was often considered synonymous with "exploitation" and "impoverishment", tenns frequently found in the more traditionalliterature on sharecropping.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
Volume (Year): 59 (1999)
Issue (Month): 02 (June)
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