Wealth and demography in Ottoman probate inventories: a database in very long-term perspective

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Canbakal, Hülya and Filiztekin, Alpay (2021) Wealth and demography in Ottoman probate inventories: a database in very long-term perspective. Historical Methods . ISSN 0161-5440 (Print) 1940-1906 (Online) Published Online First http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01615440.2020.1840469

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01615440.2020.1840469


This article introduces a database of Ottoman probates and examines some of the methodological difficulties in very long-term analysis. Wealth statistics, spanning from 1460 to 1920 in the longest subsample, indicate an inverted U-shaped pattern that may signal the limits of extensive growth or “decline” as per the former Decline Paradigm. This pattern does not entirely match recent scholarship on the Ottoman Empire, however. Examining the effect of biases and changes in probate demography on wealth, we explore how real the observed wealth pattern is. We employ descriptive statistics, linear regression and Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition, and find that demographic composition matters but does not alter the shape of the wealth curve. Explanation for the gap between probate findings and current historiography, therefore, must lie elsewhere.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Probate inventories; wealth; Ottoman Empire; inheritance; very long-term change
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
ID Code:41316
Deposited By:Hülya Canbakal
Deposited On:21 Feb 2021 17:56
Last Modified:21 Feb 2021 17:56

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