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Migration and Human Capital: Self-Selection of Indentured Servants to the Americas

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  • Abramitzky, Ran
  • Braggion, Fabio

Abstract

When contracting, European merchants could at least partially observe characteristics such as the health, physical strength, and education of indentured servants. These characteristics, unobservable to us, were likely to influence servitude duration, which is observable to us. We employ a switching regression model to analyze 2,066 servitude contracts from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Servants were positively selected to American mainland colonies in terms of their unobservable human capital and negatively selected to the West Indies. Thus, the relative quality of migrants human capital may have played a role in the subsequent relative economic performance of these regions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 66 (2006)
Issue (Month): 04 (December)
Pages: 882-905

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:66:y:2006:i:04:p:882-905_00

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Cited by:
  1. Abramitzky, Ran, 2009. "The effect of redistribution on migration: Evidence from the Israeli kibbutz," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 498-511, April.
  2. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2010. "Europe's Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses: Self-Selection and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," Discussion Papers 09-029, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  3. Kesztenbaum, Lionel & Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, 2011. "The health cost of living in a city: The case of France at the end of the 19th century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 207-225, April.

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