Vortrag Prof. Pammer: Inequality and productivity: The case of Cisleithanian agriculture, 1902

Ulrich Morawetz

Am Dienstag 15. November um 18.30 Uhr hält

Prof. DDr. Pammer von der Universität Linz einen Vortrag zum Thema

"Inequality and productivity: The case of Cisleithanian agriculture, 1902"

Der Vortrag findet auf der Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien im Raum D4.3.106

im Zuge des "Seminar in Economic History" am Institut für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte an der WU statt.

The paper examines the effects of inequality in agriculture on agricultural productivity in the Austrian part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. It tests two concurrent hypotheses:


  1.  A higher degree of inequality promoted productivity because larger estates were better able to make use of technological advances such as machinery, more sophisticated fruit rotation systems, and more flexible use of manpower. They profited of economies of scale and stronger market integration.
  2. A lower degree of inequality promoted productivity because in small and medium sized estates the owners were the actual operators, and part of the farm labourers were the owners’ relatives. Both raised operators’ and employees’ commitment to farms and output and the degree of self-exploitation. Generally, in small and medium sized farms the proportion of wage labour was lower than in very large estates. In these farms, labourers usually lived on the farm not in their own houses, which facilitated control over their doing, and helped to enforce work discipline.

These theses as well as a number of related questions concerning the assessment of agricultural production are discussed using data gathered in the agricultural census conducted by the Austrian Statistical Office in 1902. The census informs about the size of farms, types of cultivation, personnel, machinery equipment, livestock, and numerous other items. Most variables are broken down by the size of farm holdings, and by the type of cultivation (such as the proportion of arable land and meadows, forest, gardens, and others). In addition to the census data, the Ministry of Agriculture produced annual harvest statistics, which provide information on the main cereals and on a number of other products both by area and by output. Almost all of these data are available for every one of about 370 districts. The exceptions are a number of less important agricultural products which were recorded for 104 “natural regions” (defined along ecological criteria). Cereal and livestock data are available on the district level in great detail.


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