Call for Papers: ESSHC 2020 proposed panel – Enclosure and productivity in pre-industrial Europe

RHN 50/2019 | Call

Organisers: Professor Mats Morell and Dr Marja Erikson, Department of Economic History, Uppsala University, Sweden

18–21 March 2020, Leiden, The Netherlands

Deadline for abstract submission: 15 April 2019


Call for Papers:
Proposed panel for the European Social Science History Conference 2020, Leiden (Rural History Network)
Enclosure and productivity in pre-industrial Europe: ways to measure and explanatory mechanisms

The importance of enclosures, signifying privatization of land use, privatization of ownership of commons and consolidation of shattered arable open field strips have been a perennial topic in discussions on agricultural progress before the industrial breakthrough.  It has been proposed that enclosures, by efficiently establishing private property rights liberated innovative entrepreneurs from the bondage of village communities and that enclosure was a prerequisite for land use changes and introduction of new crops which raised land productivity. Others have presented data objecting to this.  For some regions e.g. Scania, southern Sweden, it has been shown that production per farm, controlling for other factors was distinctly higher on enclosed than non-enclosed farms. Some researchers, focusing the classical English case, insist that rents, reflecting productivity, rose due to enclosures; others that the rent rise did not reflect productivity growth but income redistribution; others still claim there were no rent rises connected to enclosures and for much of the continent the importance of enclosures has often been played down. This session addresses methods to measure productivity increase in a way rendering it possible to determine the influence of enclosures (or similar changes of institutional arrangements). Furthermore, it shall explore the mechanisms, by which, enclosures may have affected land productivity. Regional, empirical studies discussing these topics will be presented.

We invite regional empirical studies related to this topic from any part of Europe. Send name, affiliation, short bio and 200-word abstract to organisers ( and

The ESSHC Call for Papers and Sessions can be found here:

For the CfP of the ESSHC Rural History Network see RHN 23/2019.