|Rules, either customary or legal, which govern transmission of property (particularly real estate) between generations. Inheritance rules may define the number and gender of heir(s) to whom property should pass, the ways in which property shall be divided between multiple heirs, and the degree to which heirs\' claims through inheritance are binding on property holders regardless of their own will.
Geographers have paid particular attention to the effects of different inheritance systems, especially impartible (single-heir) versus partible (multi-heir) systems: on the physical layout of landholdings; on structures of landholding; on land tenure and the operation of field systems; on the ability of local agrarian societies to absorb population growth; and on levels of geographical mobility (generally higher in impartible systems).
Analysts have also sought to explore the relative importance of inheritance systems in channelling property transmission, compared with other means of transfer (by gift, via grants from landlords, or most importantly through landmarkets). The power of market or other mechanisms to offset or over-ride property transfers through inheritance has often been emphasized as a central component of modernization, as in debates on the transition from feudalism to capitalism (see Brenner debate).Â (PDG)