Breschi, Marco and Fornasin, Alessio and Gonano, Giovanna and Manfredini, Matteo and Seghieri, Chiara (2010) Demographic responses to short-term economic stress in a 19th-century Tuscan sharecropping population. In: Kurosu, Satomi and Bengtsson, Tommy and Campbell, Cameron (eds). Demographic responses to economic and environmental crises, Kashiwa, Japan, Reitaku University. p. 48-64. Book Section.
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Tuscany is the Italian region whose demographic history has been largely investigated. In our study on the relationship between mortality and economic fluctuations in 43 rural areas of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in the first half of the 19th century, some sharecropping communities revealed an unexpected weakness, with adults and children showing higher mortality when grain prices increased. Here, we move from an aggregate to an individual point of view. In particular, we will check demographic responses, mortality in particular, to short-term economic stress. The analysis concerns the community of Casalguidi, a large village in-between the cities of Pistoia and Florence. As in many other areas of Tuscany, the rural economy of Casalguidi was characterized by the presence of the two categories of sharecroppers and day laborers, which were antithetic in many respects, along with a non-indifferent presence of artisans and shopkeepers. The main point is that, thanks to a careful nominative linkage between different sources, we were able to reconstruct the life-histories of the dwellers of Casalguidi in the period 1765-1884, a pre-transitional period only slightly touched in its late phase by the first signs of demographic transition.
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