california institute of technology social science working paper 496

california institute of technology social science working paper 496

DIVISION OF THE HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY ECONOMIC THEORY AND SHARECROPPING IN EARLY MODERN FRANCE P h i l ...

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DIVISION OF THE HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES

CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

ECONOMIC THEORY AND SHARECROPPING IN EARLY MODERN FRANCE

P h i l i p T. Hoffman

SOCIAL SCIENCE WORKING PAPER 4 9 6 November 1983

ECONOMIC THEORY AND SHARECROPPING IN EARLY MODERN FRANCE

Abstract T h i s paper uses a

s i m p l e economic

e x p l a i n the growth of sharecropping century F r a n c e — a

topic

h i s t o r y o f the p e r i o d .

that

of c o n t r a c t c h o i c e to

P h i l i p T . Hoffman

i n s i x t e e n t h - and s e v e n t e e n t h i n much o f t h e s o c i a l and e c o n o m i c

The t h e o r y t u r n s o u t t o f i t b o t h q u a l i t a t i v e

and q u a n t i t a t i v e e v i d e n c e , preliminary,

figures

model

and a l t h o u g h t h e r e s u l t s a r e a s y e t o n l y

t h e t h e o r y does p r o v i d e a b e t t e r a c c o u n t o f t h e s p r e a d o f

Between the c l o s e of the

M i d d l e Ages

French c o u n t r y s i d e witnessed a dramatic

and r o u g h l y

expansion of

L i t t l e known i n m o s t r e g i o n s o f F r a n c e i n m e d i e v a l sharecropping, s i x t e e n t h and

to quote Marc B l o c h , seventeenth c e n t u r i e s ,

"showed a just

as

the

sharecropping.

times,

sudden

1700,

agricultural

i n c r e a s e " in the

i t had e a r l i e r

in

s h a r e c r o p p i n g t h a n t h e e x p l a n a t i o n s e a r l y modern h i s t o r i a n s have northern I t a l y . tended

to

F o r B l o c h and h i s t o r i a n s e v e r s i n c e ,

the spread o f

r e l y upon. s h a r e c r o p p i n g was p a r t o f a f a r l a r g e r i n t o debt and t h e n l o s e t h e i r dwellers (bourgeois).

process

land to nobles,

w h i c h saw

peasants

royal officers,

and o t h e r p r i v i l e g e d p e r s o n s .

fall

city

T h i s enormous

t r a n s f e r o f p r o p e r t y — B l o c h t e r m e d i t " t h e most d e c i s i v e e v e n t o f F r e n c h s o c i a l h i s t o r y " — s t r i p p e d many a p e a s a n t o f h i s p r o p e r t y and reduced him to

the

s t a t u s of a poor " s h a r e c r o p p e r ,

had o n c e b e e n h i s own l a n d , bourgeois."

o f t e n w o r k i n g what

w h i c h had b e e n s o l d t o some n o b l e o r r i c h

1

Because o f i t s l i n k s w i t h the w h o l e s a l e l o s s o f peasant l a n d , most F r e n c h h i s t o r i a n s a s s o c i a t e s h a r e c r o p p i n g w i t h r u r a l i n c r e a s i n g s o c i a l s t r a t i f i c a t i o n i n the c o u n t r y s i d e . i t f o r t h e s t a g n a t i o n o f t h e F r e n c h r u r a l economy. m a r k e t s and l a c k i n g any c a p i t a l ,

p o v e r t y and

They a l s o b l a m e Cut o f f f r o m c a s h

the F r e n c h s h a r e c r o p p e r (so the

2

argument

goes) would s i m p l y not

improve the

l a n d l o r d was e q u a l l y u n l i k e l y t o d o so, r e t u r n e d him too commercial

land he

less

interested

in

than i n consuming the produce from h i s

i n r e l i s h i n g the s t a t u s p r o p e r t y ownership c o n f e r r e d . d r a c o n i a n t e r m s o f most

c e l l a r and d e f e r e n c e f o r t h e ego.

His

e i t h e r because such i n v e s t m e n t s

l i t t l e o r b e c a u s e he seemed

agriculture

worked.

3

explanation,

though,

I n a d d i t i o n , the

s h a r e c r o p p i n g c o n t r a c t s a p p e a r e d t o s t i f l e any

evidence

from another r e g i o n , There,

i n g r e a t d e t a i l what a s h a r e c r o p p e r was t o

Bloch.

d o and t h u s ,

it

strangled i n d i v i d u a l i n i t i a t i v e by

share c o n t r a c t s ,

it Needless t o say,

consequences

leaves

t h i s p i c t u r e o f s h a r e c r o p p i n g and o f i t s

something

to be

desired.

That

sharecropping

4

l e a s e d f a r m s on s h a r e s ,

the Lyonnais,

and

a l s o runs counter to

p e t t y b o u r g e o i s l a n d l o r d s showed n o s i g n o f p r e f e r r i n g and w h i l e p o o r e r t e n a n t s m i g h t have d i s p l a y e d a

sharecropping

But

i t i s not a t a l l c l e a r why anyone a d o p t e d

i n the f i r s t

place,

impoverishment of the peasantry.

nor

why

its

spread

And a s w e s h a l l s e e ,

c o n t e m p o r a r y a t t i t u d e s and t h e modern t h e o r y o f doubt

upon the

Let

the b e l i e f

that

share

first

poorer tenants,

to

the

both

petty

bourgeois

cast

authority:

owners

(so

tenants

and b e c a u s e

share

leases

provided

produce

It

and

such as p a r t s of

France. at

least

i n France,

the r i s e o f

s h a r e c r o p p i n g d i d not

i n s e i g n o r i a l dues o r s e i g n o r i a l

t h e g r e a t d i s l o c a t i o n s i n s e i g n o r i a l power o c c u r r e d e i t h e r

i n the l a t e r M i d d l e Ages, w e l l b e f o r e s h a r e c r o p p i n g p r e v a i l e d , o r i n

Bloch

argued)

f a v o r e d s h a r e c r o p p i n g because t h e i r e s t a t e s were too meagre to a t t r a c t cash-paying

s h a r e c r o p p i n g took root o n l y in p a r t i c u l a r areas,

c o i n c i d e w i t h any m a j o r s h i f t

sharecropping s u i t e d

Such

f o r the spread o f

s p r e a d i n t i m e s o f p o p u l a t i o n g r o w t h and o f p o p u l a t i o n d e c l i n e ,

I t a l y and

I t was a l s o " p r e f e r r e d b y

type."

to account

S h a r e c r o p p i n g f l o u r i s h e d both d u r i n g the i n f l a t i o n o f

Finally,

For Marc B l o c h ,

fail

d e s p i t e o v e r a l l s i m i l a r i t i e s i n European p o p u l a t i o n t r e n d s ,

contracts

s h a r e c r o p p i n g h i n d e r e d economic

who l a c k e d c a p i t a l .

the

seignorial dues—also

t h e s i x t e e n t h c e n t u r y and d u r i n g t h e d e c l i n i n g p r i c e s o f t h e 1600s.

linked

c o n s i d e r how h i s t o r i a n s have e x p l a i n e d t h e

adoption of sharecropping.

and

sharecropping.

countryside.

us

l a n d l o r d s of

was

5

i n v o k e t o make s e n s e o f a g r i c u l t u r a l c h a n g e — i n f l a t i o n , p o p u l a t i o n pressure,

growth p a r a l l e l e d the i n c r e a s i n g impoverishment o f the French p e a s a n t r y is undeniable.

c o u l d e a s i l y have been t h e r e s u l t o f c h a n c e ( T a b l e 1).

The w e l l w o r n f a c t o r s t h a t e a r l y modern h i s t o r i a n s u s u a l l y grew

more common i n t h e s i x t e e n t h and s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r i e s and t h a t i t s

growth in

sharecropping

s l i g h t i n c l i n a t i o n t o w a r d c r o p p i n g , t h e d i f f e r e n c e was s o s m a l l t h a t

tenants.

grave

i n v e s t i g a t i o n of

b o u r g e o i s i e b u t t h e n o b i l i t y who f i r s t

They d i c t a t e d

2

thorough l o c a l

— L o u i s M e r l e ' s s t u d y o f t h e G a t i n e p o i t e v i n e — i t was n o t t h e p e t t y

initiative.

is claimed,

problem w i t h Bloch's

i s t h a t i t s i m p l y does not f i t t h e f a c t s .

A c c o r d i n g t o the most

l a n d and

The

for

the

the

eighteenth

century,

well

after

it

was

firmly

established.

F o r t u n a t e l y , a much more s u c c e s s f u l e x p l a n a t i o n o f

6

5

s h a r e c r o p p i n g emerges f r o m a c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f t h e p r o b l e m s l a n d l o r d s faced.

Perhaps

appears 1600

the

best

contemporary d i s c u s s i o n of

i n O l i v i e r d e S e r r e s ' Theatre d e

treatise

on French

farming.

For

these

l'agriculture. de

Serres,

the

difficulties the

classic

hardships

property

owners encountered were l e g i o n .

C h i e f among them was t h e

m a n a g i n g and o f o v e r s e e i n g f a r m s ,

a m a t t e r to which de S e r r e s devoted

an e n t i r e

chapter of h i s

book.

would

his

hiring

work

own

their efforts. laborers his

land,

The d r a w b a c k ,

required

constant

Ideally,

though,

the

t e n d e n c y o f most h i r e d h a n d s ,

him d e a r l y

if

his

was

a t t e n t i o n on

s u p e r v i s i o n c o u l d "make

them m e r e l y t o f e i g n any

laborers

absentee

alternative,

and

agricultural

the

owner.

farms

part

of

counter

lay

But

the master's

Only

"the

presence

evil

would

cost

f a r f r o m h i s home o r i f he had o t h e r i n the c u l t i v a t i o n of

landlords

of

this

sort,

renting

e i t h e r f o r f i x e d rent or f o r shares.

while paying a

year.

that

w h i c h in the absence of the master l e a d s

entailed certain complications.

work,

landlord

the

7

For

who,

a

supervising

the

a f f a i r s w h e r e he " e a r n e d much more t h a n soil."

argued,

and p e r s o n a l l y

l a z y d i l i g e n t " and

effort."

property

de Serres

task of

fixed rent,

I t was h a r d t o

was

the

obvious

But even r e n t i n g

find a reliable

would remain s o l v e n t ,

shoulder

tenant

all

the

and a b s o r b " a t h i s own l o s s o r p r o f i t " a l l t h e r i s k s o f t h e f a r m Such a

the

risk,

all

the

t e n a n t w o u l d pay

and he w o u l d seed,

d i f f i c u l t i e s of

demand

livestock,

less

rent

in return f o r taking on a l l

an e v e n g r e a t e r r e d u c t i o n i f he f u r n i s h e d

and o t h e r f a r m

inputs.

f i n d i n g dependable tenants,

8

Given the

de S e r r e s recommended

6

s h a r e c r o p p i n g f o r most a b s e n t e e a

t r u s t w o r t h y share

tenant,

a d v a n c e , " and he was the

lease,

though,

tenant.

Even

ignore

problems

after his boost And a t

the

a

exhausted, One

l i k e l y t o go b a n k r u p t .

tenant

might

neglect

might

cause

ditches

that

l e a s e had

run out.

He

during h i s

end o f h i s

might

in

Whatever the form of

horses."

dismiss

unrepresentative of

he

de

and

f l o o d i n g or

cut v i n e s

t e n u r e but

tenure,

rental

might

buildings

too

reduce p r o d u c t i v i t y

might

return

the

fences

the

general, the

erosion

short,

t o see p r o h i b i t i o n s a g a i n s t against

t h e l a n d l o r d w o u l d s t i l l have t o w a t c h o v e r t h e

with

like

I t w o u l d be e a s i e r t o f i n d

f o r h e d i d not " r i s k e v e r y t h i n g

fixed-rent

yield

the

less

landlords.

7

of

or

long

which could

thereafter.

l a n d " t i r e d and

the m a j o r i t y o f

as

overly

French

progressive

landlords,

n o t a r i a l r e g i s t e r s t e s t i f y t o the same c o n c e r n s .

but

and

therefore

contracts

in

Labor c o n t r a c t s (such

the

information, problems costs,

do

excessive

and

grazing or

buildings, logging,

f a i l u r e t o r e t u r n t h e p r o p e r t y i n good

lease.

and,

in

shape a t

10

is

such problems never a r i s e . bedevil

landlords,

that

far

has

and

from

attracted

it

under

the

the

attention

economic h i s t o r i a n s .

complete,

it

coexistence of r e n t a l , and

and

But

i n the r e a l heading

of

world,

these

transaction

they f o r m p a r t of the modern t h e o r y o f a g r i c u l t u r a l c o n t r a c t s ,

theorists

Serres

the

of ditches

I n a f r i c t i o n l e s s , o n e - p e r i o d w o r l d o f n o r i s k s and p e r f e c t

subject

9

overworking of vines,

against

end

the n e g l e c t

does a t

share,

of

a number o f

Although t h i s

economic

theory of

contracts

l e a s t p r o v i d e a n e x p l a n a t i o n f o r the

and w a g e - l a b o r c o n t r a c t s

in a g r i c u l t u r e ,

a l s o accounts f o r v a r i a t i o n s i n the c o n t r a c t u a l

mix.

In a

11

a s t h e one c o n c l u d e d i n 1598 b e t w e e n t h e n o t a r y E s t i e n n e Moyne o f

n u t s h e l l , t h e t h e o r y i s b a s e d upon a t r a d e o f f b e t w e e n t h e t r a n s a c t i o n

S a i n t - G e n i s - L a v a l and t w o p a r t n e r s , o n t h e one hand, and P i e r r e Dupyn

costs

and

get p a r t i e s t o e n t e r t h a t c o n t r a c t .

Nicolas

Charpin of

Saint-Genis,

on

t a s k s the l a b o r e r s were t o p e r f o r m .

the

other)

in a

As

a n d t h e y were p a i d i n s t a g e s a s t h e

property as

they

commonly

security against default.

farm owners t r i e d to might

squander

Share c o n t r a c t s

s i n c e c r o p p e r s a l s o had r e a s o n t o u n d e r s u p p l y

for rental contracts,

resources

prohibit while

the

l o c a l vineyard that

w o r k p r o g r e s s e d i n o r d e r t o k e e p them f r o m s h i r k i n g . d i d much t h e same,

specified

Dupyn and C h a r p i n , f o r e x a m p l e ,

w e r e t o l d i n g r e a t d e t a i l what t h e y w e r e t o do Moyne and h i s p a r t n e r s managed,

always

obliged

tenants

to

And w h a t e v e r t h e c o n t r a c t ,

t h e m i s u s e o f p r o p e r t y by avoiding

pledge

the

costs.

It

tenants

was

not

upon

associated with a given

landlords,

insuring The

that

include the

landlord's

the

tenant

c o n t r a c t and t h e r i s k p r e m i u m needed t o The t r a n s a c t i o n c o s t s ,

t h e h i r e d hand meets h i s

t r a n s a c t i o n costs are highest

i n a d d i t i o n t o k e e p i n g the

laborer

of

the

bargain.

for labor contracts,

misusing

the

property,

for

the

l a n d l o r d has

other

labor

a l l

uncertainty,

who

o r i n f e r i t f r o m a g r i c u l t u r a l o u t p u t . . But i n t h e r e a l w o r l d , h e has t o pay

to

specified a

discover

s u p e r v i s e him

from

part

and o f

labor.

unusual

to

which f a l l

c o s t s of e n f o r c i n g the c o n t r a c t

or

a

t o make s u r e he f u r n i s h e s t h e amount o f

in the c o n t r a c t . landlord

how

hard

With perfect

i n f o r m a t i o n and n o

c o u l d o b s e r v e t h e h i r e d hand's e f f o r t d i r e c t l y

the

laborer

works,

and h e has

to

monitor him

8

i n order to prevent s h i r k i n g . for sharecropping, however,

b e c a u s e t h e c r o p p e r has

t h e l a n d l o r d must

extent,

because

product

and

the

hence

The t r a n s a c t i o n c o s t s a r e somewhat

cropper

has

some

9

lower

true

if

i n c e n t i v e to work;

transaction One v i r t u e

costs

dropped.

of

this

theory

is

that

evidence

from

early

modern

it

clearly

c o n t e m p o r a r i e s n o t i c e d t h a t r e n t e r s demanded a p r e m i u m i n t h e f o r m o f

to

only

a

f r a c t i o n of

undersupply

labor.

his

marginal

Transactions

costs

lower rent

for

the

risks

they faced,

France.

and

de

De

Serres

his

c o n t r a c t s t h e m s e l v e s a l s o make i t c l e a r t h a t

landlord

need

only

insure

and

t h e r e f o r e has no

that

the

tenant

reason to

does

not

with

their

of reduced r e n t ,

low t r a n s a c t i o n c o s t s

is

shirk.

r u i n the

What k e e p s l a n d l o r d s f r o m o f f e r i n g n o t h i n g but contracts

and

receives

reason

product

Serres

qualitative

p r e m i u m and r i s k s were r e d u c e d f o r s h a r e c r o p p e r s .

marginal

the

s t i l l s u p e r v i s e the c r o p p e r t o a c e r t a i n

are l o w e s t o f a l l f o r f i x e d r e n t a l c o n t r a c t s , f o r the r e n t e r r e c e i v e s full

fits

The

property.

fixed rental

t h e premium ( i n t h e

form

suggested

and more m o n i t o r i n g a s t h e y moved f r o m r e n t i n g t o w a r d s h a r e c r o p p i n g and wage l a b o r .

Indeed, r e n t a l c o n t r a c t s i n v a r i a b l y contained fewer

s t i p u l a t i o n s t h a n e i t h e r s h a r e o r wage l a b o r c o n t r a c t s .

f o r example) w h i c h they must o f f e r r i s k a v e r s e

Furthermore,

the

theory

actually yields

a hypothesis

a

l a n d l o r d w i l l be more l i k e l y t o p r e f e r r e n t a l c o n t r a c t s

croppers

The

premium

is

lower

for

share

absorb only a f r a c t i o n of the r i s k .

contracts

And s i n c e t h e r e

l i t t l e o r no r i s k a t t a c h e d t o a f i x e d wage p a y m e n t , o f f e r n o premium is

then

i n o r d e r t o engage f a r m hands.

determined by

the

balance

between

because

the

is

sharecropping,

l a n d l o r d need

The m i x o f c o n t r a c t s

transaction

costs

and

risk

premiums. transaction

we w o u l d e x p e c t sharecropping

and

costs

increase

landlords to s h i f t renting.

to

pay

r i s k premiums

transaction

costs,

would

the

shift

and

to

contracts

things

being equal)

then

which

would

also

become

tenants r a t h e r than to

mix.

And

change of

face

in the supply

course

the h i g h e r of

contracts

the r e v e r s e would be

We we

labor.

that

and

sharecropping

can then t e s t

used

themselves

the

I n e a c h c a s e , more l a n d l o r d s w o u l d

the r e s u l t a n t

contractual

(other

f r o m wage c o n t r a c t s t o w a r d

Rental

p r e f e r a b l e to share agreements. prefer

equal.

useful

If

the

l a n d l o r d s had t o do more

to e a r l y modern q u a n t i t a t i v e d a t a :

rent.

that

D e S e r r e s and t h e

t e n a n t s i n o r d e r t o i n d u c e them t o a c c e p t t h e u n c e r t a i n t i e s o f p a y i n g fixed

other

to

examine

proxies

for

The f i r s t

l o c a t i o n of distant

the is

his

i f transaction costs rise, a given

t o wage

this

hypothesis

Bloch's

ideas.

are unobservable,

but

costs

of

labor,

The

supervising a

Serres

a l l other

transaction

the c o n t r a c t s

De

to things

w i t h the Lyonnais

the d i s t a n c e between the property.

applicable

and

do

us

f a r m and o f

other

contracts

costs

furnish

landlord's

being

with

monitoring residence

contemporaries

p r o p e r t y was more e x p e n s i v e t o a d m i n i s t e r ,

two

and

for

and noted

this

r e a s o n de S e r r e s a l l b u t r u l e d o u t wage l a b o r f o r m o s t a b s e n t e e landlords.

1 1

Obviously,

t r a n s a c t i o n c o s t s would r i s e h i g h e r

the

f a r t h e r away t h e p r o p e r t y . The

second

proxy

affecting

transaction

costs

is

the

presence

or

10

absence o f v i n e y a r d s . considerable

Vines

were

a capital

s u p e r v i s i o n whatever

the

investment r e q u i r i n g

contract—recall,

for

example,

d e S e r r e s ' s w a r n i n g a g a i n s t t e n a n t s who c u t them t o o s h o r t . landlord

took steps

monitoring On

his

to

sharecropper's

farms w i t h v i n e s ,

labor,

inspect

then,

the v i n e s , or

his

though,

hired

we would expect

relative

to

any

form

of

tenancy.

the m a r g i n a l cost

hand's

labor

lower costs

more s h a r e c r o p p i n g r e l a t i v e t o r e n t i n g ,

Once t h e

was

of

reduced.

for monitoring

and more wage

labor

14

The e v i d e n c e f r o m t h e s a m p l e o f L y o n n a i s c o n t r a c t s s u p p o r t s both

these

were

drawn,

contentions. risks

hence w e can

In

probably

in e f f e c t

the did

tiny not

region

vary

hold constant

contracts

greatly;

the o t h e r major

c o n d i t i o n s — w h i c h a f f e c t e d the c o n t r a c t u a l should then e x p l a i n the v a r i a t i o n s

from which these

mix.

in contract

15

factor—risk Transaction costs

t y p e , and

if we apply

l o g i t a n a l y s i s , w e f i n d t h a t our p r o x i e s f o r the t r a n s a c t i o n c o s t s d o i n d e e d have

the

expected

e f f e c t on

contract

choice

(Table

2).

The

p o s i t i v e s i g n o f the d i s t a n c e v a r i a b l e c o e f f i c i e n t s i m p l i e s t h a t l a n d l o r d s w e r e more l i k e l y t o l e a s e d i s t a n t s h a r e c r o p p e r s t h a n t o h i r e wage l a b o r .

p r o p e r t y t o r e n t e r s and

D i s t a n t e s t a t e s w e r e a l s o more

l i k e l y to be leased f o r a f i x e d rent than sharecropped. negative c o e f f i c i e n t s

expected. proper

They a l s o

signs,

laborers

found s h a r e c r o p p i n g p r e f e r a b l e

Furthermore,

the

f o r v i n e s s u g g e s t t h a t v i n e y a r d o w n e r s w e r e more

l i k e l y (other things being equal) to h i r e tenants.

Similarly,

than

t o engage

to r e n t i n g ,

as

n o t o n l y d i d a l l o f t h e s e c o e f f i c i e n t s have t h e

but n e a r l y a l l o f

them p a s s e d

the a p p r o p r i a t e o n e - t a i l e d

12

t e s t s o f s i g n i f i c a n c e a t b e t t e r than the f i v e - p e r c e n t l e v e l . Obviously, evidence. vines

a number o f

First,

as

a

proxy

one for

could lower

criticisms

argue

that

labor monitoring

c o s t s we

i n c l u d e d any l a n d l o r d c o n t r i b u t i o n o f c a p i t a l . equipment, cost of and

f r o m v i n e s and o x e n t o hand t o o l s ,

supervising labor.

the o n l y

mentioned

by

This

j u s t i f i c a t i o n for de

Serres

and

c a p i t a l c o n t r i b u t i o n to

farming.

sign,

and

most

are

still

is the

the

can t a k e r e f u g e b e h i n d

contracts

measure of farm s i z e ; plots

fails

for

coefficients.

years

greatly

in local

the

and

the

tiny

from

fluctuations

One way t o t e s t

this

in

would

risks

which the

s a m p l e was

r i s k might be

to

i n t o the l o g i t a n a l y s i s ,

though,

have

sure,

a

A more

troubling omission

m e a s u r e f o r t h e amount o f l a n d b e i n g f a r m e d . involve

increased

labor supervision costs,

a f f e c t the c h o i c e o f a c o n t r a c t .

is

the

l a c k o f any

A l a r g e farm might w e l l and

Unfortunately,

thus

farm

s i z e might

the a g r i c u l t u r a l

and more a n a l y s i s a r e w o u l d l i k e t o know,

certainly

f o r example,

the

When i n s e r t e d

t h i s r i s k proxy proves i n s i g n i f i c a n t , 2 0

but

contract

the t - s t a t i s t i c s b e l y

i n s i n u a t i o n t h a t our r e s u l t s a r e the work o f chance. post.

selected,

affected

s a m p l e o f 83 c a s e s may seem l i k e v e r y

e v i d e n c e t o h i n g e a t h e o r y upon,

have

the v a r i a t i o n s

r i s k c o n d i t i o n s d i d n o t v a r y enough t o s h i f t

To be

not

covered (the

employ

and i t h a r d l y a f f e c t s t h e o t h e r l o g i t c o e f f i c i e n t s .

choices.

who q u i t h i s

might

l e a s e r a t e s as an a p p r o x i m a t e m e a s u r e o f r i s k .

But

m a r k e t was s t r o n g enough t o p r o v i d e a r e p l a c e m e n t f o r any f a r m w o r k e r

t h e number o f

one m i g h t c r i t i c i z e t h e a s s u m p t i o n t h a t r i s k

over

1563-1633),

Evidently,

no d o u b t b e c a u s e t h e l a b o r

we

1 9

Finally,

e n f o r c e , b e c a u s e a h i r e d hand m i g h t abandon t h e p l o w t o w o r k i n town. i n t o the l o g i t

do

s i g n i f i c a n c e t e s t s and does n o t d i s t u r b t h e o t h e r

t h e y c o u l d have changed o v e r t h e p e r i o d t h e c o n t r a c t s

proper

which

Moreover,

when added t o t h e l o g i t a n a l y s i s ,

logit

l a b o r c o n t r a c t s harder to

i t f a i l s the s i g n i f i c a n c e t e s t ,

those

region

example,

analysis,

in

But

c a n u s e t h e number o f p l o t s m e n t i o n e d i n e a c h c o n t r a c t a s a c r u d e

c o n t r a c t mix.

index f o r urban workers

that

varied

H i g h e r u r b a n wages,

i n s e r t a r e a l wage

fact

substituting

1 7

c o n c e i v a b l y make a g r i c u l t u r a l

the

While a g r i c u l t u r a l

perhaps s h o u l d b e i n c l u d e d i n the a n a l y s i s .

i f we

s o n o p e r f e c t l y r e l i a b l e l a n d measure i s a v a i l a b l e .

c o n d i t i o n s remained constant.

A s e c o n d c o n c e r n m i g h t b e a number o f a d d i t i o n a l v a r i a b l e s t h a t

could

we

l a n d l o r d s ' major

A l l the c o e f f i c i e n t s s t i l l have the significant.

argument,

t h a t they were

I n any e v e n t , change

in question,

the s i z e o f the p l o t s

m e n t i o n l a n d s i z e t h e f a r m s a r e r e l a t i v e l y homogeneous.

They a l s o u n d o u b t e d l y r e q u i r e d

l a n d l o r d c a p i t a l does not

analysis significantly.

s h o u l d have

would cut the m a r g i n a l

represented

more s u p e r v i s i o n t h a n o t h e r c a p i t a l goods. t h e p r e s e n c e o f any

the presence of

c e r t a i n l y a reasonable

they

this

Any c a p i t a l good o r

s i n g l i n g out v i n e s

that

local

is

c o n t r a c t s f r o m t h i s p e r i o d d o not u s u a l l y r e p o r t

c o u l d be r a i s e d a g a i n s t

instead of using

13

i n order before

little the

More e v i d e n c e

we c a n be

c e r t a i n (one

what r i s k s p e a s a n t s f a c e d as

c o n s u m e r s , w h a t o t h e r f o r m s o f i n s u r a n c e w e r e a v a i l a b l e t o them, and

14

what

bigger

landlords did),

but a t

the v e r y

least,

15

the theory of

a r e a s w h e r e o v e r b u r d e n e d p e a s a n t s had

a g r i c u l t u r a l contracts gives us an a t t r a c t i v e candidate f o r future

owners,

research.

land or c a p i t a l .

And a s w e have s e e n ,

explaining

the q u a l i t a t i v e

sources

in

several

The

theory

sharecropping.

regions also

t h e t h e o r y has t h e added v i r t u e o f

evidence, of

early

provides

Sharecropping,

a

we

drawn

from de

modern

France.

ready

saw,

S e r r e s and o t h e r

poverty,

contract

But

i t i s wrong t o blame i t f o r France's a g r i c u l t u r a l s t a g n a t i o n .

for

the

prevalent

spread

at

of

precisely

market

collapses

once

we

realize

often r a i s e d by croppers:

landlords.

l a n d l o r d s were f r e q u e n t l y

These a b s e n t e e o w n e r s had t o c o n t e n d w i t h c o s t s o f

trees

for

the

not

that

s i l k trade involved

contracts,

proper

to

to

increase the and

fiscal

renting)

of

transfer

system,

exemptions

peasant

property

itself

appears

of

to p r e c i s e l y

the

land.

These n o b l e s ,

nothing

in

the

way

up

land

bought

into to

the

have

to h i r i n g l a b o r ) was

hands

been

of

laborers.

The

2 2

thus a r e s u l t of

absentee

caused

resorted

by

landlords,

of

taxes

from

sort

of

privileged

officers, the

peasant

tax-paying

peasant

of administering distant

on

and

property outweighed

person

who

city dwellers land

they

proprietors

bought paid

until

the v a l u e o f

up

the

l i t t l e or

purchased,

their

costs

tax

23 exemptions.

As absentee owners, they s i m p l y found s h a r e c r o p p i n g

p r e f e r a b l e t o wage It

is

with poverty:

labor.

c l e a r as i t was,

w e l l why s h a r e c r o p p i n g was quite simply,

so often associated

a way o f a d m i n i s t e r i n g p r o p e r t y

argue

that

the

draconian

clauses

in

These c l a u s e s ,

rational

property

to

protect

but

Indeed,

2 4

were also

share

r a t h e r than

estates.

s t i f l e d a g r i c u l t u r a l change. attempts

crops

i n the

Nor does i t seem

sharecropping

we have s e e n ,

r i g h t s and m o n i t o r

leases were m e r e l y

labor.

They

w e r e s u p p l e enough t o change f r o m p l a c e t o p l a c e and o v e r t i m e , and l a b o r c o n t r a c t s c o n t a i n e d e v e n more r i g i d

economic

theory

with r i s k , obstacle

to

suggests

incentives, economic

that

sharecropping

was

and t r a n s a c t i o n c o s t s .

growth,

and

the

true

clauses.

2 5

merely

a

I t was

thus not a n

causes of

way

Indeed of

dealing

agriculture

s t a g n a t i o n i n F r a n c e have t o b e s o u g h t e l s e w h e r e — p e r h a p s i n t h e t a x

and

the

to

regular

monarchy's

f o r t h e m o n a r c h y was g r a n t i n g i n c r e a s i n g l y v a l u a b l e t a x

peasant

they

instead

i n s h a r e c r o p p i n g ( r e l a t i v e t o wage

transfer this

(and

they

south.

i n the s a l e ,

know o f t h e t h e o r y o f

that

commercial

in the Lyonnais,

farther

consumption, of the produce from these

only natural

highly

j u s t wine

a d m i n i s t e r i n g d i s t a n t , n e w l y p u r c h a s e d p r o p e r t i e s , and f r o m what w e

sharecropping

l i t t l e o r no

i f s h a r e c r o p p i n g was a s s o c i a t e d w i t h r u r a l

mulberry

was

to absentee

u n d e r t a k e n w i t h t e n a n t s who p o s s e s s e d

t h e same t i m e t h a t F r e n c h p e a s a n t s w e r e l o s i n g t h e i r l a n d t o a b s e n t e e

it

t h e i r farms

The f r e q u e n t c l a i m t h a t s h a r e c r o p p i n g meant d i s e n g a g e m e n t f r o m t h e

explanation

g r e w more

a

lost

in

system

that

t r e a t e d peasants

so u n f a i r l y .

18

12.

T h i s a c c o u n t o f c o n t r a c t c h o i c e i s o n l y one among s e v e r a l p o s s i b l e t h e o r i e s ; there are other explanations that place g r e a t e r s t r e s s upon t h e l a n d l o r d s e n t r e p r e n e u r i a l i n p u t , o t h e r f a c t o r s o f p r o d u c t i o n , and i n c e n t i v e s . See, f o r e x a m p l e , W i l l i a m H a l l a g h a n , " S e l f S e l e c t i o n b y C o n t r a c t u a l C h o i c e and t h e T h e o r y o f S h a r e c r o p p i n g , " B e l l J o u r n a l o f E c o n o m i c s 9 ( A u t u m n 1978):344-54, and J o s e p h D . Reed, " S h a r e c r o p p i n g and A g r i c u l t u r a l U n c e r t a i n t y , " E c o n o m i c D e v e l o p m e n t and C u l t u r a l Change 24 ( A p r i l 1976):549-76. These a l t e r n a t i v e t h e o r i e s , t h o u g h , have t h e i r own l i m i t a t i o n s — R e i d , f o r example, tends t o g l i d e over q u e s t i o n s o f m o n i t o r i n g c o s t s — a n d t h e y d o n o t f i t t h e e a r l y modern q u a l i t a t i v e e v i d e n c e a s w e l l a s t h e e x p l a n a t i o n I have g i v e n . I n any c a s e , a l l o f t h e s e d i f f e r e n t t h e o r i e s a r e i n f a c t more c o m p l e m e n t a r y t h a n m u t u a l l y exclusive.

13.

De S e r r e s ,

14.

Compare t h e s i m i l a r a r g u m e n t o f A l s t o n and H i g g s , M i x , " p. 3 4 0 .

15.

Ibid,

16.

O n e - t a i l e d t e s t s are a p p r o p r i a t e s i n c e s i g n s o f the v a r i o u s c o e f f i c i e n t s .

17.

The p r e s e n c e o f v i n e s does seem t o have a s t r o n g e r e f f e c t o n c o n t r a c t c h o i c e than o t h e r s o r t s o f l a n d l o r d c a p i t a l . The r e a s o n may b e t h a t t h e v i n e y a r d s r e q u i r e d more c o n s t a n t s u r v e i l l a n c e t h a n t o o l s o r a n i m a l s ; m o r e o v e r , damage t o v i n e s was more d i f f i c u l t t o remedy s i n c e t h e r e was o b v i o u s l y n o r e n t a l m a r k e t one c o u l d t u r n t o i n o r d e r t o r e p l a c e damaged v i n e s .

p.

pp. 4 6 - 4 8 , 5 3 .

See a l s o D e w a l d ,

19

20.

I r e l i e d upon an i n d e x o f l e a s e r a t e s f o r a f i x e d c o l l e c t i o n o f farm p l o t s to c o n s t r u c t my r i s k proxy. I f the l e a s e r a t e s i n c l u d e d a r i s k premium, t h e n the l e v e l of the i n d e x i t s e l f ought to p r o v i d e a rough proxy of r i s k c o n d i t i o n s . I f , o n the o t h e r hand, t h e l e a s e r a t e s r e f l e c t e d o n l y the expected p r o f i t s from f a r m i n g , then the c o e f f i c i e n t o f v a r i a t i o n o f t h e l e a s e r a t e s ought t o t r a c k r i s k . I t r i e d both p r o x i e s f o r r i s k , w i t h s i m i l a r r e s u l t s .

21.

One a d d i t i o n a l t a s k f o r f u t u r e r e s e a r c h i s t o s p e c i f y a t h e o r e t i c a l m o d e l i n s u c h a way t h a t under c e r t a i n c i r c u m s t a n c e s s h a r e c r o p p i n g c o u l d a c t u a l l y become p r e f e r a b l e t o b o t h wage l a b o r and r e n t i n g . T h i s would be p o s s i b l e , f o r example, w i t h a p r o b i t model.

22.

A n u m e r i c a l example would be u s e f u l here. On the b a s i s of our l o g i t c o e f f i c i e n t s , w e w o u l d e x p e c t a l a n d l o r d who l i v e d a d j a c e n t t o h i s v i n e y a r d t o s h a r e c r o p o n l y 1 9 p e r c e n t o f t h e t i m e and employ wage l a b o r 75 p e r c e n t o f t h e t i m e . An a b s e n t e e l a n d l o r d who l i v e d 2 0 k i l o m e t e r s from the v i n e y a r d ( a t y p i c a l f i g u r e i n the L y o n n a i s ) w o u l d be much more l i k e l y t o s h a r e c r o p (38 p e r c e n t o f t h e t i m e ) and l e s s l i k e l y t o f a r m w i t h l a b o r e r s (45 p e r c e n t o f t h e t i m e ) .

23.

F o r t h i s , see " S o c i a l H i s t o r y and T a x e s : The Case o f E a r l y M o d e r n France," C a l i f o r n i a I n s t i t u t e o f Technology S o c i a l Science Working P a p e r 395 ( 1 9 8 3 ) .

24.

Duby e t Roannais Gutton, offerts

25.

A l t h o u g h L o u i s M e r l e t a l k s of the " d r a c o n i a n " terms of the s h a r e c r o p p i n g c o n t r a c t s , h e a c k n o w l e d g e s t h a t t h e y changed; M e r l e , pp. 1 6 1 - 8 5 , 2 0 3 , and a l s o D e S e r r e s , pp. 5 1 - 5 2 .

pp. 1 8 3 - 2 0 1 . "Contractual

344. the

theory p r e d i c t e d

the

18.

I f we add a r e a l wage i n d e x f o r u r b a n b u i l d i n g w o r k e r s t o t h e l o g i t e q u a t i o n s w i t h V I N E and DISTANCE, t h e t - s t a t i s t i c s a r e f a r f r o m s i g n i f i c a n t ( t = 0.22 and -0.05 f o r t h e e f f e c t o n r e n t i n g and sharecropping, r e s p e c t i v e l y ) . I have a l s o t r i e d t o add v a r i o u s human c a p i t a l m e a s u r e s , s u c h as l i t e r a c y and o c c u p a t i o n , t o t h e l o g i t a n a l y s i s , b e c a u s e some o f t h e l i t e r a t u r e on c o n t r a c t c h o i c e suggests t h a t the v a r i o u s c o n t r a c t s a l l o w l a n d l o r d s t o s c r e e n f o r tenant s k i l l . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , I f o u n d no e v i d e n c e f o r t h i s , no d o u b t b e c a u s e my human c a p i t a l p r o x i e s w e r e p o o r m e a s u r e s o f t h e requisite s k i l l s .

19.

W i t h a l a r g e r s a m p l e , we c o u l d v e r i f y t h a t t h e number o f p l o t s was an accurate proxy by checking it f o r those c o n t r a c t s which do mention farm s i z e . I plan to do t h i s in future research.

a l . , 2: 235; S e r g e D o n t e n w i l l , "Les baux a m i - f r u i t s en e t B r i o n n a i s aux X V I I e e t X V I I I e s i e c l e s , " i n J e a n - P i e r r e L y o n e t l ' E u r o p e : Hommes e t S o c i e t i e s : Melanges d ' h i s t o i r e a R i c h a r d G a s c o n . 2 v o l s . ( L y o n , 1 9 8 0 ) , 2 : 198.

see