Journal title SOCIETÀ E STORIA
Author/s Marco Dotti
Publishing Year 2022 Issue 2022/177 Language Italian
Pages 25 P. 479-503 File size 216 KB
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The article focuses on the development of life annuities in the old regime by looking at the contracts drawn up by different charities in northern Italy. Such instruments allowed their signatories to use resources (money, credits, real estate) to open pensions for themselves and/or for a third party, which might include other, additional services (funeral services, Requiem Masses, dowries for daughters or granddaughters). Between the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, life annuities were a case study and a field of application for the upcoming probability theory. The development of such practices became therefore a special observation point for the progressive mathematization of socio-economic life, which helps understand the pervasiveness of the innovation as well as at the factors of resilience that are inbred in contracting. The sources suggest that the introduction of life tables, while making the life expectancy of the recipients somehow more predictable, did not reflect all their needs and, most importantly, could not control other unknown factors, such as those related to the type and quality of the capital allocated to such annuities. Due to the great variety of social expectations, in most cases contracts cannot be pigeonholed into a preestablished grid but require, instead, a more far-ranging assessment of each specific context.
Keywords: life annuities, probability, appraisals, Northern Italy, early modern age.
Marco Dotti, «Maneggiare dalla carità all’economia». Le rendite vitalizie tra previdenza e provvidenza (Italia settentrionale, secoli XVII-XVIII) in "SOCIETÀ E STORIA " 177/2022, pp 479-503, DOI: 10.3280/SS2022-177003