Marriage today is our prime social and legal institution. Historically, it was also the principal economic institution. This collection of essays offers a wealth of original research into the economic, social and legal history of the marital partnership in northern Europe over a 500-year period. Erickson's introduction explores the concept of the marital economy and sketches the legal and economic background across the region. Chapters by A...gren, Gudrun Andersson, Agnes ArnA^3rsdA^3ttir, Inger DA beck, Elizabeth Ewan, Rosemarie Fiebranz, Catherine Frances, Hanne Johansen, Ann-Catrin A-stman, Anu PylkkAnen, Hilde Sandvik and Jane Whittle, are organized according to the three economic stages of the marital life-cycle: forming the partnership; managing the partnership; and dissolving the partnership. In conclusion, Michael Roberts explores how the historical development of modern economic theory has removed marriage from its central position at the heart of the economy.