Ett stycke på väg : Naturaväghållning med lotter i Västmanlands län ca 1750–1850

Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis is to analyse how the road allotment system functioned as an institution to mobilise resources and organise the provision of roads. Through this institution every peasant was made responsible for certain parts of a road. The analysis focuses on road repair and maintenance in the Swedish region of Västmanlands län c. 1750–1850. Previous research has described the allotment system as unfair, unprofessional and ineffective in providing a functioning road system and has contrasted it against modern road management based on cash taxes or fees, a central administrative body and professional engineers and workers.The results indicate that the allotment system under certain circumstances helped minimise administrative expenses for mobilising resources and organising work. Through the allotment system local resources throughout the area could be exploited and there was no need to convert tax revenue into output. When roads had been divided into parts it was not necessary to continually plan and manage work efforts, and through the quality inspections punishment could easily be enforced and road standards guaranteed. The allotment model also enabled peasants to perform road work at a convenient time and to make long-term improvements in their road parts.This was only possible when there were no ambiguities concerning limits and occupants of every road section, and a high degree of societal continuity, which was enabled by tying the obligation to homesteads through a constant taxation index. Without these preconditions there was a risk that a section of the road was not maintained at all, making it necessary to redistribute road parts, which was a complicated, time-consuming, and costly process. This was due to difficulties in making small adjustments without influencing all road parts within a large area. Furthermore, an equal distribution of road sections was hard to accomplish since traffic and natural conditions varied, and every part was at a different distance from the gravel pit and from the peasants’ farms. The possibility to mobilise resources within the allotment system was also restricted in time and by the availability of maintenance materials.