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Enclosures in Scotland : evidence from the old statistical account Douglas, Catherine

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of enclosures on total factor productivity in the northeast of Scotland at the end of the eighteenth century. Rent, wage and price data for 49 parishes has been gathered from John Sinclair's twenty volume Statistical Account(1791-1798). Each of the parishes is characterised by the state of enclosure, land classification, market access, and whether or not lime, marl and turnip husbandry were in use. Economic analysis and statistical methods are used to assess the relationship between these variables, rent differentials and total factor productivity. The main findings of this study indicate that there were efficiency gains from enclosure and that those gains accrued to both landlords and to farm workers. These results have important distributional implications, and point to the different experience of rural workers in England and Scotland at this time.

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