IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/mil/wpdepa/2013-02.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Corvée versus money: Micro-history of a water infrastructure in the Alps, the Rû Courtaud, 1393- 2013

Author

Listed:
  • Massimo FLORIO

    ()

Abstract

This paper analyses the micro-history of an irrigation infrastructure in the Alps, the Rû Courtaud, bringing water from the glacier of Ventina along the Ayas Valley, until some villages in the countryside of Saint-Vincent. Established in 1393, the infrastructure is still working and serving the local communities. The peculiar interest of this history lies in the way the investment and the maintenance costs were afforded by the project promoters. After an initial payment of 80 golden florins to the Seigneur of Challant, who held the water rights, the households promoting the infrastructure offered a very well tuned supply of labour in the form of corvées. These were established in a voluntary contract binding the promoters and their heirs. This was indeed a very long term venture, as - given the hard local conditions - the construction of the Rû took fifty years. The returns, however, were satisfactory, and the Rû Courtaud is still operated after six centuries, and has still a not for profit consortium. The opportunity to substitute money finance with labour 'finance' is analysed, and the arrangement is found to be efficient in terms of minimising ownership-related costs. Several other water infrastructures in the Alps were provided by similar schemes. This seems an interesting example of a 'bottom up' mechanism for the provision of public investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo FLORIO, 2013. "Corvée versus money: Micro-history of a water infrastructure in the Alps, the Rû Courtaud, 1393- 2013," Departmental Working Papers 2013-02, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2013-02
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://wp.demm.unimi.it/files/wp/2013/DEMM-2013_02wp.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bruce L. Gardner, 1975. "The Farm-Retail Price Spread in a Competitive Food Industry," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 57(3), pages 399-409.
    2. Robert A. Buckle & John A. Carlson, 2000. "Inflation and Asymmetric Price Adjustment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 157-160.
    3. Digal, Larry N. & Ahmadi-Esfahani, Fredoun Z., 2002. "Market power analysis in the retail food industry: a survey of methods," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 46(4), December.
    4. S McCorriston & CW Morgan & AJ Rayner, 2001. "Price transmission: the interaction between market power and returns to scale," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 143-159, June.
    5. Ronald W. Ward, 1982. "Asymmetry in Retail, Wholesale, and Shipping Point Pricing for Fresh Vegetables," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 64(2), pages 205-212.
    6. Hayenga, Marvin L. & Miller, Douglas, 2001. "Price Cycles and Asymmetric Price Transmission in the U.S. Pork Market," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10414, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    7. Yulei Luo, 2008. "Consumption Dynamics under Information Processing Constraints," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, pages 366-385.
    8. Ball, L. & Mankiw, N.G., 1992. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Economic Fluctuations," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1602, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    9. Blinder, Alan S, 1982. "Inventories and Sticky Prices: More on the Microfoundations of Macroeconomics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 334-348.
    10. Ball, Laurence & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1994. "Asymmetric Price Adjustment and Economic Fluctuations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 247-261, March.
    11. Sam Peltzman, 2000. "Prices Rise Faster than They Fall," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 466-502, June.
    12. Granger, C. W. J. & Newbold, P., 1974. "Spurious regressions in econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 111-120, July.
    13. Jochen Meyer & Stephan Cramon-Taubadel, 2004. "Asymmetric Price Transmission: A Survey," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 581-611.
    14. Clarke, Roger & Davies, Stephen W, 1982. "Market Structure and Price-Cost Margins," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 49(195), pages 277-287, August.
    15. Michael K. Wohlgenant, 1989. "Demand for Farm Output in a Complete System of Demand Functions," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 71(2), pages 241-252.
    16. Douglas J. Miller & Marvin L. Hayenga, 2001. "Price Cycles and Asymmetric Price Transmission in the U.S. Pork Market," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 551-562.
    17. Engle, Robert & Granger, Clive, 2015. "Co-integration and error correction: Representation, estimation, and testing," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 39(3), pages 106-135.
    18. Bailey, DeeVon & Brorsen, B. Wade, 1989. "Price Asymmetry In Spatial Fed Cattle Markets," Western Journal of Agricultural Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 14(02), December.
    19. Charles E. Hyde & Jeffrey M. Perloff, 1994. "Can Monopsony Power be Estimated?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1151-1155.
    20. Garth J. Holloway, 1991. "The Farm-Retail Price Spread in an Imperfectly Competitive Food Industry," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 73(4), pages 979-989.
    21. repec:ccp:journl:v:1:y:2001:i:3:p:247-281 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. S. McCorriston & C. W. Morgan & A. J. Rayner, 1998. "Processing Technology, Market Power and Price Transmission," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 185-201.
    23. Henry W. Kinnucan & Olan D. Forker, 1987. "Asymmetry in Farm-Retail Price Transmission for Major Dairy Products," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 69(2), pages 285-292.
    24. Bernard, John C. & Willett, Lois Schertz, 1996. "Asymmetric Price Relationships In The U.S. Broiler Industry," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 28(02), December.
    25. von Cramon-Taubadel, Stephan, 1998. "Estimating Asymmetric Price Transmission with the Error Correction Representation: An application to the German Pork Market," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 1-18.
    26. Paul W. Dobson & Michael Waterson & Stephen W. Davies, 2003. "The Patterns and Implications of Increasing Concentration in European Food Retailing," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 111-125.
    27. Daniel Levy & Mark Bergen & Shantanu Dutta & Robert Venable, 1997. "The Magnitude of Menu Costs: Direct Evidence from Large U. S. Supermarket Chains," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 791-824.
    28. Bernard, John C. & Willett, Lois Schertz, 1996. "Asymmetric Price Relationships in the U.S. Broiler Industry," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, pages 279-289.
    29. Titus O. Awokuse & Xiaohong Wang, 2009. "Threshold Effects and Asymmetric Price Adjustments in U.S. Dairy Markets," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 57(2), pages 269-286, June.
    30. T. A. Lloyd & S. McCorriston & C. W. Morgan & A. J. Rayner, 2006. "Food scares, market power and price transmission: the UK BSE crisis," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 33(2), pages 119-147, June.
    31. M. Ben-Kaabia & José M. Gil, 2007. "Asymmetric price transmission in the Spanish lamb sector," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 34(1), pages 53-80, March.
    32. Shantanu Dutta & Mark Bergen & Daniel Levy & Robert Venable, 2005. "Menu Costs, Posted Prices, and Multiproduct Retailers," Macroeconomics 0505007, EconWPA.
    33. Paul Dobson & Michael Waterson, 1999. "Retailer power: recent developments and policy implications," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 14(28), pages 133-164, April.
    34. Lloyd Tim & McCorriston Steve & Morgan Wyn & Rayner Anthony & Weldegebriel Habtu, 2009. "Buyer Power in U.K. Food Retailing: A 'First-Pass' Test," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-40, May.
    35. Ian Sheldon & Richard Sperling, 2003. "Estimating the Extent of Imperfect Competition in the Food Industry: What Have We Learned?," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109.
    36. Dutta, Shantanu, et al, 1999. "Menu Costs, Posted Prices, and Multiproduct Retailers," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(4), pages 683-703, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Water infrastructure; micro-history; financial history; irrigation;

    JEL classification:

    • N83 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2013-02. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (DEMM Working Papers). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/damilit.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.