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The Causal Effects of Enclosures on Production and Productivity

Lazuka, Volha; Bengtsson, Tommy; Svensson, Patrick


Enclosures enforced private property rights at the onset of industrialization, yet numerous estimations of the enclosures’ effects on production and productivity rely on nonexperimental designs. We estimate the causal effects of enclosure reforms applying stateof-the-art difference-in-differences and event-study methods to a large panel of farms observed between 1781 and 1865 in Sweden. Our results demonstrate that enclosures led to a 3.4 percent annual growth in land productivity in the first decade and overall production increase reached 82 percent after 30 years. Such results are much larger than previous estimates, suggesting that land enclosures were a prerequisite for modern economic growth.


enclosures; property rights; production; agriculture; differencein-differences; event-study

Published in

IZA discussion papers
2023, number: 16394
Publisher: IZA – Institute of Labor Economics