Freedom, Servitude and Voluntary Contract
AbstractWe present a framework to revisit and reframe some important debates over the nature of free versus unfree labor and the economic consequences of emancipation. We use a simple general equilibrium model in which labor can be either free or coerced and where land and labor will be exchanged on markets that can be competitive or manipulated or via other non-market collusive arrangements. Tied labor-service contracts and other forms of 'servility' clauses are 'necessary' only as a strategy to help landlords sustain a collusive arrangement to pay workers wages below their marginal product. We discuss two purported paradoxed that have been stressed in the literature: the paradox of immiserizing emancipation (that explains why total output fell in so many post-emancipation societies) and the paradox of bans (that claims that interference with workers freedom to enter into voluntary contracts can only be Pareto-decreasing. We argue that while these paradoxes are generally valid when examined in the context of simpler bilateral contracting situations, they fail to consider important general equilibrium considerations.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Hunter College Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College with number 408.
Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
- O1 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
- O12 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
- O17 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
- P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights
- P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-06-19 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Goldin, Claudia, 1988.
"Maximum Hours Legislation and Female Employment: A Reassessment,"
2645471, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Goldin, Claudia, 1988. "Maximum Hours Legislation and Female Employment: A Reassessment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 189-205, February.
- Stanley Engerman, 2003. "Slavery, Freedom, And Sen," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2-3), pages 185-211.
- repec:fth:michin:402 is not listed on IDEAS
- Conning, Jonathan H. & Robinson, James A., 2007.
"Property rights and the political organization of agriculture,"
Journal of Development Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 416-447, March.
- Jonathan Conning & James A. Robinson, 2005. "Property Rights and the Political Organization of Agriculture," Hunter College Department of Economics Working Papers 405, Hunter College: Department of Economics.
- Genicot, Garance, 2002. "Bonded labor and serfdom: a paradox of voluntary choice," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 101-127, February.
- Deardorff, A.V., 1997.
"Rich and Poor Countries in Neoclassical Trade and Growth,"
402, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
- Deardorff, Alan V, 2001. "Rich and Poor Countries in Neoclassical Trade and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 277-94, April.
- Kandori, Michihiro, 1992.
"Social Norms and Community Enforcement,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 63-80, January.
- Binswanger, Hans P. & Deininger, Klaus & Feder, Gershon, 1993.
"Power, distortions, revolt, and reform in agricultural land relations,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
1164, The World Bank.
- Binswanger, Hans P. & Deininger, Klaus & Feder, Gershon, 1995. "Power, distortions, revolt and reform in agricultural land relations," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 42, pages 2659-2772 Elsevier.
- Braverman, Avishay & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1982. "Sharecropping and the Interlinking of Agrarian Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 695-715, September.
- Eric V. Edmonds & Nina Pavcnik, 2005. "Child Labor in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 199-220, Winter.
- Akerlof, George A, 1976. "The Economics of Caste and of the Rat Race and Other Woeful Tales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-617, November.
- David, Paul A & Temin, Peter, 1979. "Explaining the Relative Efficiency of Slave Agriculture in the Antebellum South: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 213-18, March.
- Basu, Kaushik, 1986. "One Kind of Power," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 259-82, July.
- Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
- Jonathan Conning, 2004. "The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom and the Roads to Agrarian Capitalism: Domar's Hypothesis Revisited," Hunter College Department of Economics Working Papers 401, Hunter College: Department of Economics.
- Kenneth L. Sokoloff & Stanley L. Engerman, 2000. "Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 217-232, Summer.
- Bernd Beber & Christopher Blattman, 2010. "The Industrial Organization of Rebellion: The Logic of Forced Labor and Child Soldiering," HiCN Working Papers 72, Households in Conflict Network.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jonathan Conning).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.