Risk in Tuscan Agriculture in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries
We analyse output risk in Italian agriculture over the period 1870- 1914. We use data on a set of 16 tenanted plots grouped into three farms comprising a single large estate. We estimate the degree of risk associated with each separate crop, with the portfolio of crops at the level of the plot, the farm and the estate. We highlight two particular features: the relatively high risk associated with tree crops (wine, oil and nuts); and the substantial scope for the landlord to reduce risk through crop diversification across plots. We discuss the implications of these for tenure contract theory.
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