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Author notes

*The first version of this article was presented as a paper to the Anglo-American Conference on the Medieval Economy and Society held at Norwich in July 1986. I am grateful to the participants in the conference and to many medievalists and early modern historians who read or heard later versions of this article for their valuable comments and criticisms. I also thank the School of History of Birmingham University, the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure and Wolfson College, Oxford for helping me to conduct this study. Last but not least I wish to thank Ann Ussishkin from Tel Aviv University for reading and editing this article.