Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-559fc8cf4f-sbc4w Total loading time: 0.31 Render date: 2021-02-26T20:00:52.484Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Agricultural specialisation and the land market: an examination of the dynamics of the relationship in the Swiss Alps, c.1860–1930

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2014

LUIGI LORENZETTI
Affiliation:
Università della Svizzera Italiana, Mendrisio.

Abstract

From the latter half of the nineteenth century, mixed farming in the Alpine regions of Switzerland underwent a gradual process of specialisation. Cereal crops were phased out in favour of feed crops, livestock, viticulture and fruit farming. This article analyses the way in which the land market was affected by this increasingly specialised primary sector and asks whether this market became more efficient as a result of reduced transaction costs. Surveys have shown that the land market remained bound by the inertia inherent in the nature of landed property in the Alpine area. The connection between agricultural diversification and the land market appears to have been only partial and this suggests that the modernisation of farming did not so much alter the main balance of the market itself, as boost the circulation of plots more directly associated with the process of specialisation.

Spécialisation agricole et marché foncier: leur dynamique relationnelle dans les Alpes suisses, 1860–1930

Dans les Alpes suisses, à partir de la seconde moitié du 19e siècle, le système agricole jusque-là caractérisé par sa mixité, entama un processus graduel de spécialisation. Les cultures céréalières furent éliminées en faveur des cultures fourragères, de l’élevage, de la viticulture et de l'arboriculture fruitière. Cet article étudie la manière dont le marché foncier a été affecté par un secteur primaire de plus en plus spécialisé et si ce marché est devenu plus efficace en raison de coûts de transaction réduits. L'enquête a montré que, dans la région alpine, le marché de la terre restait bridé par l'inertie inhérente à la nature de la propriété foncière. Le lien entre diversification agricole et marché foncier semble n'avoir été que partiel. Ce résultat suggère que la modernisation de l'agriculture n'a pas beaucoup modifié l’équilibre majeur du marché lui-même, mais a stimulé la circulation des parcelles associées directement au processus de spécialisation.

Landwirtschaftliche Spezialisierung und der Bodenmarkt: eine Untersuchung der Dynamik der Beziehungen in den Schweizer Alpen, ca. 1860–1930

Ab der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts durchlief die Landwirtschaft in den Alpenregionen der Schweiz einen schrittweisen Spezialisierungsprozess. Getreideanbau wurde zugunsten von Futterpflanzen, Viehwirtschaft, Weinbau und Obstanbau zurückgefahren. Dieser Beitrag analysiert, auf welche Weise der ländliche Bodenmarkt durch diese zunehmende Spezialisierung des primären Sektors beeinflusst wurde, und fragt danach, ob dieser Markt infolge der reduzierten Transaktionskosten effizienter wurde. Untersuchungen haben gezeigt, dass der ländliche Bodenmarkt durch die für ländliche Grundstücke im Alpenraum typische Schwerfälligkeit eingeschränkt blieb und die Verbindung zwischen landwirtschaftlicher Diversifikation und dem Bodenmarkt nur partiell bestand, was darauf hindeutet, dass die landwirtschaftliche Modernisierung nicht so sehr das allgemeine Marktgleichgewicht selbst veränderte, sondern vielmehr die Zirkulation derjenigen Grundstücke erhöhte, die direkt mit dem Spezialisierungsprozess verknüpft waren.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

1 Mathieu, J., History of the Alps, 1500–1900: environment, development, and society (Morgantown, West Virginia, 2009)Google Scholar [trans. by M. Vester; originally published as Geschichte der Alpen, 1500–1900 (Vienna, 1998)], chap. 3.

2 Lorenzetti, L. and Merzario, R., Il fuoco acceso. Famiglie e migrazioni alpine nell'Italia d'età moderna (Rome, 2005)Google Scholar and the recent synthesis by Albera, D., Au fil des générations. Terre, pouvoir et parenté dans l'Europe alpine (XIVe–XXe siècles) (Grenoble, 2011)Google Scholar.

3 On the Alps, see especially Holmes, D. R., ‘A peasant-worker model in a northern Italian context’, American Ethnologist 10, 4 (1983), 734–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Ramella, F., Terra e telai. Sistemi di parentela e manifattura nel Biellese dell'Ottocento (Turin, 1984)Google Scholar; Merzario, R., Il capitalismo nelle montagne. Strategie famigliari nella prima fase di industrializzazione nel Comasco (Bologna, 1989)Google Scholar; Tanner, A., Spulen, Weben, Sticken: die Industrialisierung in Appenzell Ausserrhoden (Zurich, 1982)Google Scholar; Head-König, A.-L., ‘Introduction – l'industrie et les femmes dans les montagnes de l'Europe: modèles d'insertion et de fonctionnement des ménages’, in Valsangiacomo, N. and Lorenzetti, L. eds., Donne e lavoro. Prospettive per una storia delle montagne europee (XVIII–XX secc.) (Milan, 2010), 97113Google Scholar; Lorenzetti, L., ‘Ruralité, industrie et formes de pluriactivité’, Histoire, Economie et Société 3 (2012), 1534Google Scholar.

4 See for example, Bergier, J.-F., Histoire économique de la Suisse (Lausanne, 1984)Google Scholar; Grass, N., ‘Vieh- und Käseexport aus der Schweiz in angrenzende Alpenländer besonders im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert’, in Carlen, L. and Imboden, G., Wirtschaft des alpinen Raums im 17. Jahrhundert (Brig, 1988), 113–77Google Scholar; Head-König, A.-L., ‘Les alpages en Suisse: typologie et accès à la propriété, rapport aux marchés, migrations (XVIe–début XIXe siècle)’, in Cavaciocchi, S. ed., Il mercato della terra, secc. XIII–XVIII. Atti della “trentacinquesima settimana di studi” dell'Istituto internazionale di storia economica “F. Datini” Prato, 5–9 maggio 2003 (Florence, 2004), 315–36Google Scholar.

5 Pinilla, V., ‘The impact of markets in the management of rural land’, in Pinilla, V. ed., Markets and agricultural change in Europe from the 13th to the 20th century (Turnhout, 2009), 1136CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6 Collantes, F., ‘Farewell to the peasant republic: marginal rural communities and European industrialization’, Agricultural History Review 54, II (2006), 257–73Google Scholar; Collantes, F., ‘Rural Europe reshaped: the economic transformation of upland regions, 1850–2000’, Economic History Review 62, 2 (2009), 306–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

7 See, for example, Merzario, Il capitalismo nelle montagne; Judet, P., ‘Du paysan à l'horloger. Histoire sociale d'un Faucigny pluri-actif (1850–1930)’, Ruralia 9 (2001)Google Scholar, http://ruralia.revues.org/247; Lorenzetti, L., Destini periferici. Modernizzazione, risorse e mercati in Ticino, Valtellina e Vallese 1850–1930 (Udine, 2010)Google Scholar; Corner, P., Contadini e industrializzazione. Società rurale e impresa in Italia dal 1840 al 1940 (Rome and Bari, 1993)Google Scholar; Mayaud, J.-L., La petite exploitation rurale triomphante. France XIXe siècle (Paris, 1999)Google Scholar.

8 Rosenberg, H. G., A negotiated world: three centuries of change in a French Alpine community (Toronto, 1988)Google Scholar.

9 For Trentino and Alto Adige, see Raffaelli, R., ‘Il lento affermarsi delle specializzazioni produttive’, in Leonardi, A. ed., La regione Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol nel XX, vol. 2. Economia. Le traiettorie dello sviluppo (Trento, 2009), 139–49Google Scholar; Lorandini, C., ‘L'agricoltura trentina dalla coltivazione promiscua alla specializzazione produttiva’, in Leonardi, A. and Pombeni, P. eds., Storia del Trentino, vol. VI. L'età contemporanea. Il Novecento (Bologna, 2005), 487514Google Scholar. For Valais, see Thurre, H., Les domaines de la Sarvaz. Une agriculture valaisanne en mutation au XXe siècle (Sion, 2013)Google Scholar.

10 Here we are referring to the current Swiss cantons of Ticino and Valais, although part of the latter lies in Germany, as well as the alpine valleys of Lombardy.

11 Mathieu, History of the Alps, chap. 3.

12 For the Italian alpine area, see Fornasin, A., Ambulanti, artigiani e mercanti. L'emigrazione della Carnia in età moderna (Verona, 1998), 4561Google Scholar; Lorenzetti and Merzario, Il fuoco acceso, 87, 110.

13 These ‘original families’ had the right, as joint owners, to participate in the management and use of the common lands and other resources of the community.

14 Lorenzetti and Merzario, Il fuoco acceso, 70–80.

15 For example in the Alpine valleys of Ticino we estimate that in the period 1830–1840 at least 10 per cent of land sales were the result of people being obliged to sell to pay off debts. This proportion could increase to over 30 per cent, however, in times of crisis. See Lorenzetti, L., ‘Endettement paysan, demande foncière, spéculation. Les vallées tessinoises au XIX siècle’, in Béaur, G., Ch. Dessureault, and Goy, J. eds., Familles, terres, marchés. Logiques économiques et stratégies dans les milieu ruraux (XVIIe–XXe siècles) (Rennes, 2004), 185–98Google Scholar. See also Tedeschi, P., ‘Marché foncier, crédit et activités manufacturières dans les Alpes. Le cas des vallées de la Lombardie orientale (XVIII–XIX siècles)’, Histoire des Alpes – Storia delle Alpi – Geschichte der Alpen 12 (2007), 247–59Google Scholar.

16 Supplemento al foglio periodico della R. Prefettura di Sondrio 1881, 1883–1885, 1888. In the five years under consideration there were 300 forced sales or public auctions in total, or around 60 per year, whereas in ‘normal’ years the number dropped to fewer than 10.

17 Rullani, E., L'economia della provincia di Sondrio dal 1871 al 1971 (Sondrio, 1973)Google Scholar.

18 Postel-Vinay, G., ‘La terra a rate? Osservazioni sul credito e il mercato fondiario in Francia nel XIX secolo’, Quaderni Storici 65 (1987), 579–97Google Scholar. For the Alps, see, for example, G. Piluso, ‘Terra e credito nell'Italia settentrionale nel Settecento: mercati, istituzioni e strumenti in prospettiva comparata’, in Cavaciocchi, Il mercato della terra, 743–64.

19 Rullani, L'economia della provincia di Sondrio, 93–4, 108–11, 165–7.

20 Béaur, G., ‘Foncier et crédit dans les sociétés préindustrielles. Des liens solides ou des chaines fragiles?’, Annales Histoire Sciences Sociales 6 (1994), 1411–28Google Scholar; Béaur, G., ‘Credit and land in eighteenth-century France’, in Lambrecht, T. and Schofield, P. eds., Credit and the rural economy in North-Western Europe, c. 1200–c.1850 (Turnhout, 2009), 153–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

21 Béaur, G., ‘Des sols contre de la terre. L'argent dans les transactions foncières au XVIIIe siècle’, in Minard, P. and Voronoff, D. eds., L'argent des campagnes. Echanges, monnaie, crédit dans la France rurale d'ancien régime (Paris, 2003), 171–83Google Scholar.

Ibid.

23 Lorenzetti, Destini periferici, 146–7.

24 See, for example, Scapaccino, M., Studio delle condizioni economiche ed agrarie della provincia di Sondrio (Vicenza, 1992), 5863Google Scholar.

25 Bassi, E., La Valtellina (provincia di Sondrio). Sue condizioni morali, economiche, industriali, agricole, politiche, sanitarie. Usi, costumi, lingua, belle arti, avanzi antichi, uomini illustri (Milan, 1890)Google Scholar, 53.

26 Frey, T., ‘Der Strukturwandel der Schweizerischen Landwirtschaft nach 1850 im Licht der Thünen'schen Kreise’, Traverse: Zeitschrift für Geschichte 1 (2008), 3148Google Scholar.

27 See Viazzo, P. P., Upland communities. Environment, population and social structure in the Alps since the sixteenth century (Cambridge, 1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, chap. V. The author consciously refers to a process of ‘peasantification’ that touched many alpine communities in the first half of the twentieth century.

28 On viticulture in Valais, see Zufferey-Périsset, A.-D. ed., Histoire de la vigne et du vin en Valais. Des origines à nos jours (Sierre-Salquenen, 2009)Google Scholar. For the Valtellina, see Zoia, D., Vite e vino in Valtellina e Valchiavenna. La risorsa di una valle alpina (Sondrio, 2004)Google Scholar.

29 Lorenzetti, Destini periferici, 67–84.

30 For Leventina, see the State Notarial Archives – Archivio di Stato del cantone Ticino Notarile. For the period 1860–1864: Zelio Giovanni (box 4442–4444); Gianelli Agostino (box 4396); Galeppi Felice (box 4392–4395); Giudici Cipriano (box 4401–4402); Bacchi Pietro (box 4347–4348). For the period 1890–1894: Corecco Antonio (box 4363–4367bis.); Dazzoni Giovanni (box 3563); Daberti Vincenzo (box 4371–4373). For the period 1920–1924: Pattani Gottardo (box 3543–3550); Martini Gerolamo (box 45009–4524R); Dazzoni Giovanni (box 3563); Celio Enrico (box 3042); Pedrini Ferdinando (box 4224). For the region of Martigny, see the State Notarial Archives – Archives d'Etat du Valais, Notaires. For the period 1860–1864: Germain Ganioz, vol. 12; Gross Benjamin (box 1–2); Morand Adolphe (box 3). For the period 1890–1894: Bender Emile (box 5); Chappaz Achille (box 4); Gillioz Pierre (box 4); Roduit Emile (box 1–2); Ribordy Antoine (box 6); Défayes Joseph (box 7); Rappaz Jules (box 1–4). For the period 1920–1924: Closuit Louis, vol. 1–2; Dévayes Gilbert, vol. 56, Défayes Camille, vol. 6–7. The number of proceedings sampled are as follows: Leventina 1860–1864, 564; 1890–1894, 517; 1920–1924, 607; Martigny 1860–1864, 482; 1890–1894, 602; 1920–1924, 837.

31 Arlettaz, G., ‘Les transformations économiques et le développement du Valais 1850–1914’, Groupe Valaisan de science humaines, Développement et mutation du Valais (Sion, 1976)Google Scholar, 34. Among the factories was the Saxon food-processing plant, which opened in 1885 and gave work to hundreds of people, mainly from Valais, in the 1920s.

32 Van Bavel, B., de Moor, T. and Van Zanden, J. L., ‘Introduction: factor markets in global economic history’, Continuity and Change 24, 1 (2009), 921CrossRefGoogle Scholar, here 14.

33 Tedeschi, P., ‘Marché foncier et systèmes de production agricoles dans l'Italie du nord au XIXe siècle: le cas de la Lombardie orientale’, European Review of History/Revue Européenne d'Histoire 5 (2008), 459–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

34 The average surface area of land exchanges increases from 913 square metres in 1860–1864, to 1470 square metres in 1890–1894 and 1579 square metres in 1920–1924.

35 Métrailler, S., ‘L'Etat face au développement de l'agriculture dans la vallée du Rhône durant la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle (1860–1914)’ (unpublished mémoire de licence, University of Fribourg, 1978)Google Scholar; Clavien, A., ‘La modernisation du Valais, 1848–1914’, in Histoire du Valais, t. 3 (Sion, 2002), 581635Google Scholar.

36 The average area of land under vines that changed hands on the land market rose from 321 square metres in 1860–1864 to 812 square metres in 1890–1894 before dropping to 651 square metres in 1920–1924.

37 Pini, G., ‘La Basse Léventine. L'industrialisation en milieu rural’ (unpublished mémoire de licence, University of Geneva, 1977), 3741Google Scholar.

38 Production costs in the viticulture sector in 1929 are estimated to have been 4,160 francs per hectare or 70 cents per litre of grape juice, allowing for a yield of 0.6 litres per square metre. This suggests an average selling price of between 0.75 and 1.05 francs per litre (the vineyard is Fendant white quality), indicating the low yield of this sector of the local economy. See Germanier, J.-J., ‘Aspects de la viticulture valaisanne de l'entre-deux-guerres’ (unpublished mémoire de licence, University of Fribourg, 1978), 1820Google Scholar.

39 For example, the average annual wine consumption per head in Switzerland is estimated to have dropped from 88 litres in 1893–1902 to 47 litres in 1929. This is accounted for mainly by the increase in the price of local wines, which encouraged people to consume less.

40 Lorenzetti, Destini periferici, 181–90. In other contexts, conversely, private credit – including that of religious institutions – supported the development of crafts and manufacturing activities and consequently the alpine economy and that of the Pre Alps. See, for example, Tedeschi, P., ‘Sale or gratuitous transfer? Conveyance of family estates in a manufacturing village: Lumezzane in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries’, Continuity and Change 23, 3 (2008), 429–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

41 Lorenzetti, Destini periferici, 181–90.

42 We observe, however a trend towards the postponement of payment when areas of forest were being purchased. In contrast, when vineyards were being purchased, payment upfront was encouraged.

43 Although referring to Brittany, in France, Boudjaaba, F. makes some interesting appraisals of the different forms of payment for the purchase of land in Des paysans attachés à la terre? Familles, marchés et patrimoines dans la région de Vernon (1750–1830) (Paris, 2008), 306–23Google Scholar.

44 Tribess, A., ‘La modernité sarde: une nouveauté toute relative’, Ruralia 7 (2000)Google Scholar, http://ruralia.revues.org/document177.html

45 On the theme of marginal spaces, see Pollard, S., Marginal Europe. The contribution of marginal lands since the Middle Ages (New York, 1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

46 Head-König, A.-L., ‘Property rights in Switzerland during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A possible explanation for different types of economic change?’, in Béaur, G., Schofield, P., Chevet, J.-M. and Pérez Pícazo, M. T. eds., Property rights, land market and economic growth in the European countryside (Turnhout, 2013), 515–35 (524–31)Google Scholar.

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 9
Total number of PDF views: 36 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 26th February 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Agricultural specialisation and the land market: an examination of the dynamics of the relationship in the Swiss Alps, c.1860–1930
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Agricultural specialisation and the land market: an examination of the dynamics of the relationship in the Swiss Alps, c.1860–1930
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Agricultural specialisation and the land market: an examination of the dynamics of the relationship in the Swiss Alps, c.1860–1930
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *