Diversity of economic landscapes and common land persistence in 19th century Spain: an interpretative proposal
The massive land privatization that took place over the 19th century deeply transformed the Spanish economic landscape. Nevertheless, the outcome of the process was quite different, both in pace and impact, depending on the geographic area we analyze. The explanation for this regional diversity in the persistence of common lands has been attributed to the institutional and environmental context, together with the level of market penetration that characterized the different rural societies. However, the important role that the commons themselves played in this process has been often overlooked. The aim of this paper is to complement those previous explanations by proposing a model that focuses on the collective land remaining, at any given moment, as a crucial explanatory variable and to provide an interpretative framework that would contribute to unveiling the complexity of a process that led to so many different outcomes.
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