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The management of agricultural estates in Catalonia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. An approach through bookkeeping


  • Ramón Garrabou

    () (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

  • Jordi Planas

    () (Universitat de Barcelona)

  • Enric Saguer

    () (Universitat de Girona)


The aim of this study is to analyse the management of rural estates during the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century using basically the expenditure registered in bookkeeping records. The information collected proceeds from eight private archives, and from them we have reconstructed a total of ten series of bookkeeping records which describe a group of farms spread throughout the main agricultural zones of Catalonia (Spain). The changes in the quantities provided by the landowners towards the running costs can help us to understand their role in the processes of growth and intensification of agricultural production. We show that, while the level of investment they made was modest, the landownwers did not behave like absentee landlords or idly live off their rents. The examples analysed give us some insight into the rationale behind some of the landowners' decisions and the diverse responses that they adopted according to the circumstances and the prevailing social and environmental conditions on their estates. The accounting records have proved to be a valuable source in this sense.

Suggested Citation

  • Ramón Garrabou & Jordi Planas & Enric Saguer, 2010. "The management of agricultural estates in Catalonia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. An approach through bookkeeping," Documentos de Trabajo de la Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria 1005, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria.
  • Handle: RePEc:seh:wpaper:1005

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. B. A. Holderness, 1972. "Landlord's Capital Formation in East Anglia, 1750–1870," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 25(3), pages 434-447, August.
    2. Pidal, Juan Carmona, 1995. "Las estrategias económicas de la vieja aristocracia española y el cambio agrario en el siglo XIX," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 63-88, March.
    3. Cormac Ó Gráda, 1975. "The investment behaviour of Irish landlords, 1850-75 : some preliminary findings," Open Access publications 10197/345, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
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    More about this item


    landowners; sharecropping; management of rural estates; bookkeeping records; agriculture; Catalonia;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns

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