The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom and the Roads to Agrarian Capitalism: Domar's Hypothesis Revisited
AbstractI propose a simple general equilibrium formalization of Domar's famous hypothesis on the causes of slavery or serfdom that emphasizes the interactions between factor endowments, the nature of the production technologies, and the initial distribution of property rights over land. The model provides a framework within which to understand the choice between slavery, serfdom, and free labor and tenancy equilibria with or without bonded labor-service obligations. The model also sheds light on the `Agrarian Question' regarding why some otherwise similar regions transitioned to free-labor agrarian capitalism via an `American road' dominated by independent family farms while others followed a `Junker road' with production dominated by large estates surrounded by small semi-proletarianized peasant households. The model is built around an otherwise canonical general equilibrium trade model adapted to allow for the endogenous emergence of land oligopoly and labor oligopsony power distortions that shape the pattern of agrarian production organization.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Hunter College Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College with number 401.
Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Monoposony; agrarian organization; inequality; tenancy; slavery; serfdom.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
- J43 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Agricultural Labor Markets
- L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
- Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
- Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
- F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-07-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2004-07-18 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-HPE-2004-07-20 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- A quick, uninformed, probably wrong, and completely unoriginal resolution to the "Brenner Paradox"
by YouNotSneaky! in YouNotSneaky on 2009-01-31 08:34:00
- Fenske, James, 2010.
"Land abundance and economic institutions: Egba land and slavery, 1830-1914,"
22959, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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