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to the importance of the Black Death, alongside new Protestant ideas, in transforming
Late Medieval European economies. He and
other economic historians have noted that
the Black Death substantially reduced the
population of rural producers, bringing better returns to labor by comparison with earlier periods. Alesina also argues that women’s
fertility decreased as their labor in the fields
increased. Alesina did not mention the export
industry or social unrest, both of which contributed to economic changes and the status
of women during this time.
In the 14th century, England was becoming a major exporter of high-quality wool
products. Initially, the benefits from these
exports were enjoyed by the elite. However,
centralized control of production was inefficient, and there was little to motivate their
obligated labor force (1). Raw wool export
also was increasingly supplanted by more
local cloth production (2). The changing
wool economy drew more female producers into the labor force. Women took jobs in
weaving, basic production, and the growing
The social unrest that characterized this
period also contributed to women’s chang-
ing roles. Growing commerce brought new
opportunities for women, not only as produc-
ers, but also as marketers. As E. P. Thompson
pointed out (3), women were often the lead-
ers in riots in the marketplaces because they
were more involved in market transactions
than men, they understood market conditions
in detail, and they had much to gain from
institutionally improved market conditions.
RICHARD E. BLANTON
Department of Anthropology, Purdue University, West
Lafayette, IN 47907, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. R. Hilton, Class Conflict and the Crisis of Feudalism:
Essays in Medieval Social History ( The Hambledon Press,
2. R. Britnell, Britain and Ireland 1050–1530: Economy
and Society (Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 2004).
3. E. P. Thompson, Past Present 50, 115 (1971).
CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS
News & Analysis: “Cavefish study supports controver-
sial evolutionary mechanism” by E. Pennisi (13 December
2013, p. 1304). The story stated that Susan Lindquist and
“colleagues” were the first to propose that Hsp90 acts as an
evolutionary “capacitor” by masking underlying mutations.
In fact, Suzannah Rutherford was the first and only other
author on the relevant 1998 paper. The HTML and PDF ver-
sions online have been corrected.
Policy Forum: “International cooperation on human lunar
heritage” by H. R. Hertzfeld and S. N. Pace (29 November
2013, p. 1049). The phrase “reinforced and formalized”
was missing from the sentence: “Article II of the OST reinforced and formalized the international standard that outer
space, the Moon, and other celestial bodies would not be
subject to claims of sovereignty from any nation by any
means, including appropriation.” The HTML and PDF versions online have been corrected.
News & Analysis: “Sleep: The brain’s housekeeper?” by E.
Underwood (18 October 2013, p. 301). The article should
have stated that amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease
build up outside, not inside, neurons. The HTML and PDF
versions online have been corrected.
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