|Mikołaj Malinowski is a Postdoctoral
Fellow at Lund University
Serfs and the city: market conditions, surplus extraction institutions, and urban growth in early modern Poland
European Review of Economic History. 2016, 2, volume 20, pp. 123–146.
Abstract of the article: I investigate the relation between institutions, markets, and preindustrial economic growth. In particular, I analyze the impact of coercive agricultural class structures on urban population growth in Poland. My main point is that the impact of the demesne economy based on serfdom on urban growth was neither inherently negative nor positive. Instead, I suggest that the effect of serfdom depended on market conditions. I propose a new mechanism that explains how higher monetary and labor duties charged by landlords to their enserfed tenant farmers could have made urban settlements more resilient to a market crisis. I find empirical support for this idea with use of new database on urban settlements.