Much of the historical demographic literature focuses on inheritance, and, in particular, how parents' transmission of land to their offspring facilitated their economic survival. Thus, inheritance practices are often linked to age of marriage and household structure. Analyses of the fifteenth-century notarial documents and tax declarations of smallholders in a region of Tuscany called the Val di Cecina illustrate the many forms of property devolution that these smallholders used and the different ways that they gained access to land through local markets. Given the high mortality rates that prevented a predictable transmission of property between the generations, the local markets, and the varieties of property devolution, inheritance may have been less important for economic survival and age of marriage in the Val di Cecina than in other regions, indicating the variability of inheritance in preindustrial settings.

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