Women and the 'Second Serfdom': Evidence from Bohemia
CES Working Paper at University of Munich No. 177
Posted: 9 Jun 1999
Date Written: December 1998
Women's ability to conduct independent households is a useful indicator of their economic position. This article investigates female headship in Bohemia (the Czech Republic) under strong feudal and communal institutions. Bohemian female headship was extremely low by Western European standards, declined significantly between 1591 and 1722, and was decreasingly affected by socio-economic influences. The article argues that this was linked to the growing power of landlords under the "second serfdom". Not only did landlords dissolve female-headed households as poor fiscal risks, but this economic rent was manipulated by village communities and other serfs for their own ends.
JEL Classification: J12, J16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation