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No Experiments, Monumental Disasters: Why it Took a Thousand Years to Develop a Specialized Fishing Industry in Iceland

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Eggertsson, Thráinn
Conference: Workshop on the Workshop
Location: Indiana University Bloomington
Conf. Date: June 16-18, 1994
Date: 1994
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/1821
Sector: Fisheries
Region: Europe
Subject(s): fisheries
Workshop
economic development
property rights
economics--history
Abstract: "Iceland has been renowned for its rich fisheries since the Middle Ages, attracting fishing fleets from various European countries. Yet the institutions of premodern Iceland permitted ocean fishing only as a part-time activity of farmers and trapped the country in abject poverty until late in the 19th century. Landed interests, who feared competition in the labor market, tied labor to the land. The domestic constraint, which would not have sufficed in an open economy, was complemented by the Danish colonial policy of isolation and monopoly trade. A vigorous fishing industry emerged with the introduction of free trade."

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