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South Carolina Slave Prices, 1722-1809

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  • Peter C. Mancall
  • Joshua L. Rosenbloom
  • Thomas Weiss

Abstract

Based on data from several samples of probate inventories we construct and analyze a time series of slave prices for South Carolina from 1722 to 1809. These estimates reveal that prices fluctuated without trend prior to the 1760s and then began to rise rapidly, more than doubling by the early nineteenth century. Estimates of supply and demand functions indicate that while long-run slave supply was highly elastic, the short-run supply function was quite inelastic. Our analysis of the slave price series indicates that the price of rice was the major determinant of the demand for slaves and in turn largely explains the rise in slave prices. These findings have important implications for the interpretation of evidence on rising yields in rice production over the eighteenth century and the sources of wealth accumulation in South Carolina.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Historical Working Papers with number 0123.

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Date of creation: Mar 2000
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Publication status: published as Mancall, Peter C., Joshua L. Rosenbloom and Thomas Weiss. "Slave Prices And The South Carolina Economy, 1722-1809," Journal of Economic History, 2001, v61(3,Sep), 616-639.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0123

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  1. R. C. Nash, 1992. "South Carolina and the Atlantic economy in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(4), pages 677-702, November.
  2. Chang-Tai Hsieh, 1999. "Productivity Growth and Factor Prices in East Asia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 133-138, May.
  3. Egnal, Marc, 1998. "New World Economies: The Growth of the Thirteen Colonies and Early Canada," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195114829.
  4. Peter C. Mancall & Joshua L. Rosenbloom & Thomas Weiss, 2000. "Slave Prices in the Lower South, 1722-1815," NBER Historical Working Papers 0120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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