Quotation Boberg-Fazlic, Nina, Lampe, Markus, Martinelli Lasheras, Pablo, Sharp, Paul. 2020. Winners and Losers from Enclosure: Evidence from Danish Land Inequality 1682-1895. CEPR Discussion Paper 14616; EHES Working Paper 178.




There is a vast literature on the effects of land inequality and agrarian reforms, but little on the origins of this inequality. We exploit a new and unique parish-level database of land inequality in Denmark, from 1682 to 1895, during which period there was comprehensive land reform and enclosure. We demonstrate that inequality increased after land reform in areas with more productive land, measured using contemporary tax assessments. We instrument for land quality using glacial and postglacial sediment soil types. We propose a mechanism whereby agrarian reforms allowed areas with better soil quality to realize greater productivity gains. Malthusian mechanisms and internal migration then led to greater population increases in more fertile areas, leading to a larger share of smallholders and landless laborers. We present evidence for this mechanism in part from population density revealed by censuses. After the reforms, the geographical pattern of inequality remained strikingly constant, although population and inequality continued to grow throughout the nineteenth century.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Working/discussion paper, preprint
Language English
Title Winners and Losers from Enclosure: Evidence from Danish Land Inequality 1682-1895
Title of whole publication CEPR Discussion Paper 14616; EHES Working Paper 178
Year 2020
URL https://portal.cepr.org/discussion-paper/16225
JEL O13, N53, Q15


Lampe, Markus (Details)
Boberg-Fazlic, Nina (University of Southern Denmark, Denmark)
Martinelli Lasheras, Pablo (Universidad Carlos III Madrid, Spain)
Sharp, Paul (University of Southern Denmark, Denmark)
Institute for Economic and Social History IN (Details)
Research Institute for Spatial and Real Estate Economics FI (Details)
Research areas (Ă–STAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5300 Economics (Details)
5340 Economic history (Details)
6521 Economic history (Details)
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