Were Free Southern Farmers "Driven to Indolence" by Slavery? A Stochastic Production Frontier Approach
AbstractAntebellum critics of slavery argued that it was responsible for the relative inefficiency of free southern farms. We examine this issue, employing a stochastic production function, which allows us to distinguish between technological superiority and technical inefficiency, and controlling for crop mix, which we treat as endogenous. We find that although large plantations enjoyed a technological advantage, slave farms were less efficient than free northern farms but more efficient than free southern farms. In addition, free southern farms were significantly less efficient than comparable northern farms.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Historical Working Papers with number 0082.
Date of creation: Apr 1996
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N51 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
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- 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.
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