Gender Discrimination in Property Rights
32 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2014
Starting from the medieval period, women in the Italian Alps experienced a progressive erosion in property rights over the commons. We collected documents about the evolution of inheritance regulations on collective land issued by hundreds of peasant communities over a period of six centuries (13th-19th). Based on this original dataset, we provide a long-term perspective of decentralized institutional change in which gender-biased inheritance systems emerged as a defensive measure to preserve the wealth of community insiders. This institutional change had implications also for the protection from economic shocks, for population growth, and for marriage strategies.
Keywords: land rights, endogamy, migrations, common property
JEL Classification: J16, N53, Q20
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