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On the causes of the African Slave Trade

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  • Luis Angeles

Abstract

This paper offers an integrated analysis of the forces shaping the emergence of the African slave trade over the early modern period. We focus our attention on two questions. First, why most of the increase in the demand for slaves during this period came exclusively from western Europeans. Second, and of most relevance for present-day development outcomes, why was the overwhelming majority of slaves of African origin. Technological differences in manufacturing technology, the specificities of sugar (and other crops’) production, and the cultural fragmentation of the African continent all play a role in the analysis. Supporting evidence for each of our claims is provided from a broad corpus of relevant literature.

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File URL: http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_248866_en.pdf
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Paper provided by Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow in its series Working Papers with number 2012_15.

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Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2012_15

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Keywords: Africa; Slave trade; Long-run development;

References

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  1. David Eltis & Frank D. Lewis & David Richardson, 2005. "Slave prices, the African slave trade, and productivity in the Caribbean, 1674-1807 -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 58(4), pages 673-700, November.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, 09.
  3. Luis Angeles & Kyriakos C. Neanidis, 2006. "Aid Effectiveness: The Role of the Local Elite," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0633, Economics, The University of Manchester.
  4. Fenoaltea, Stefano, 1984. "Slavery and Supervision in Comparative Perspective: A Model," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(03), pages 635-668, September.
  5. Luis Angeles, 2011. "Institutions, Property Rights, and Economic Development in Historical Perspective," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 157-177, 05.
  6. Angeles, Luis, 2007. "Income inequality and colonialism," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1155-1176, July.
  7. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2011. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3221-52, December.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  9. Louis Putterman, 2008. "Agriculture, Diffusion and Development: Ripple Effects of the Neolithic Revolution," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(300), pages 729-748, November.
  10. Louis Putterman & Valerie Bockstette, 2000. "States and Markets:the Advantage of an Early Start," Working Papers 2000-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  11. Eltis, David, 1990. "Welfare Trends among the Yoruba in the Early Nineteenth Century: The Anthropometric Evidence," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(03), pages 521-540, September.
  12. Olsson, Ola & Hibbs Jr., Douglas A., 2000. "Biogeography and Long-Run Economic Development," Working Papers in Economics 26, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 11 Aug 2000.
  13. Luis Angeles, 2007. "GDP per capita or Real Wages? Making sense of coflicting views on pre-industrial Europe," Working Papers 2007_11, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  14. Warren Whatley & Rob Gillezeau, 2011. "The Impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade on Ethnic Stratification in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 571-76, May.
  15. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716, August.
  16. E. W. Evans & David Richardson, 1995. "Hunting for rents: the economics of slaving in pre-colonial Africa," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(4), pages 665-686, November.
  17. Gareth Austin, 2008. "Resources, techniques, and strategies south of the Sahara: revising the factor endowments perspective on African economic development, 1500-2000 -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 61(3), pages 587-624, 08.
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