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"The Bull is Half the Herd": Property Rights and Enclosures in England, 1750-1850

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  • Elaine Tan

    (Nuffield College, Oxford)

Abstract

This paper proposes that one function of the open fields was to reduce the transaction costs of cow-keeping by lowering commoners’ costs of bulling. At enclosure, cow-keeping fell among small owners who, unlike large farmers, had difficulty obtaining bulling services and were not substantial enough to own both the bull and the cow; they were therefore worse off with enclosures. The minimum acreage required to restore cow keepers to their pre-enclosure economic position indicates that even commoners who were given some land at settlement lost out with the change in property rights.

Suggested Citation

  • Elaine Tan, 2002. ""The Bull is Half the Herd": Property Rights and Enclosures in England, 1750-1850," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _046, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:nuf:esohwp:_046
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/2282/46tan.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Humphries, Jane, 1990. "Enclosures, Common Rights, and Women: The Proletarianization of Families in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(01), pages 17-42, March.
    2. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    3. Shaw-Taylor, Leigh, 2001. "Parliamentary Enclosure And The Emergence Of An English Agricultural Proletariat," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(03), pages 640-662, September.
    4. Boaz Moselle, 1995. "Allotments, enclosure, and proletarianization in early nineteenth-century southern England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(3), pages 482-500, August.
    5. Clark, Gregory, 1998. "Commons Sense: Common Property Rights, Efficiency, and Institutional Change," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(01), pages 73-102, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard H. Steckel, 2004. "Fluctuations in a Dreadful Childhood: Synthetic Longitudinal Height Data, Relative Prices and Weather in the Short-Term Health of American Slaves," NBER Working Papers 10993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Guillaume Daudin, 2008. "Domestic Trade and Market Size in Late Eighteenth-Century France," Economics Series Working Papers 69, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. J.Humphries & T. Leunig, 2007. "Cities, Market Integration and Going to Sea: Stunting and the standard of living in early nineteenth-century England and Wales," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _066, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    4. Robert Dryburgh, 2003. "Individual, Illegal, and Unjust Purposes': Overseers, Incentives, and the Old Poor Law in Bolton, 1820-1837," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _050, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    5. Regina Grafe, 2004. "Popish habits vs. nutritional need: Fasting and fish consumption in Iberia in the early modern period," Economics Series Working Papers 2004-W55, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    6. Jane Humphries, 2006. ""Because they are too menny..." Children, Mothers and Fertility Decline: The Evidence from Working-Class Autobiographies of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _064, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    7. repec:oxf:wpaper:69.2 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Alexandre Debs, 2003. "The Source of Walras`s Idealist Bias: A Review of Koppl`s Solution to the Walras Paradox," Economics Series Working Papers 2003-W49, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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