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Session Proposal "Unearthing the Roots of Inequality: Exploring Land Property Dynamics (from Early Modern times and onwards)", World Economic History Congress (WEHC) 28 July-1 August 2025, Lund, Sweden

01-12-2023 14:37

Session theme:
While inequality has played a pivotal role in shaping societies and economies worldwide, many authors have argued the importance of studying its historical evolution in order to have a deeper comprehension of its dynamics and determinants (Milanovic et al. 2011; Piketty 2013). Until recently in industrialized regions, and still today in many countries in the Global South, agriculture, and therefore land, was the main source of rents, income and wealth. This session seeks to delve into the intricate web of historical dynamics that influenced land property arrangements from Early Modern times and onwards. Our objective is to foster a comprehensive understanding of the manifold factors that contributed to the often-glaring disparities in land ownership during this transformative period. The proposed session aims to provide a nuanced exploration of the theme by employing a variety of methodologies and case studies, each offering unique insights into the complexities of land property inequality. We contend that the roots of modern land property arrangements can be traced back to this era, and understanding this historical context is essential for comprehending contemporary disparities.

By bringing together scholars utilizing diverse methodologies and presenting a range of case studies, this session seeks to enrich the understanding of how access to land property was shaped during a critical juncture in history. Therefore, contributions using in-depth analyses of historical records, legal documents, economic data, and narratives are welcome to shed light on the multifaceted aspects of land ownership. The session aims to foster a collaborative and interdisciplinary dialogue among economic historians, and scholars interested in the complex dynamics of inequality on land property. Our objective is to deepen our knowledge of the historical forces that continue to shape the contemporary landscape of land property and economic inequality. Thus, our endeavour is to unearth the roots of inequality and contribute to a richer understanding of global economic history.

Submission guideline: Please submit your paper proposal of no more than 500 words to Adrian Palacios Mateo: apalcios[at], Josep Mas Ferrer: josep.masferrer[at] no later than 1 January 2024. Selected papers will be included in a proposal for a full session for the WEHC. Acceptance is conditional on the proposal being accepted for the congress.

Session organisers: Josep Mas Ferrer (Universitat de Girona) and Adrian Palacios Mateo (Universidad de Zaragoza).


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