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‘The bull is half the herd’: property rights and enclosures in England, 1750–1850

Authors
Journal
Explorations in Economic History
0014-4983
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
39
Issue
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0014-4983(02)00006-2
Disciplines
  • Economics

Abstract

Abstract Common fields reduced the transaction costs for commoners’ cow keeping by lowering the cost of insemination. After enclosure, cow keeping fell among small owners who, unlike large farmers, could neither jointly own the bull and the cow nor lease the male easily. The minimum acreage required to restore cow keepers to their pre-enclosure economic position indicates that many commoners who were given some land at settlement were inadequately compensated for the change in property rights.

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