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Preserving Slave Families for Profit: Traders' Incentives and Pricing in the New Orleans Slave Market

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  • Charles Calomiris
  • Jonathan Pritchett

Abstract

We investigate the determinants of slave family discounts, using data from the New Orleans slave market. We find large price discounts for families which cannot be explained by scale effects, childcare costs, legal restrictions, or transport costs. Because family members cared for each other, sellers found it advantageous to keep some families together. Evidence from the manifests of ships carrying slaves to be sold in New Orleans provides direct evidence for our model of selectivity bias in explaining slave family discounts. Children likely to have been shipped with their mothers are 1-2 inches shorter than other children.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14281.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14281

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  1. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1978. "The Structure of Slave Prices in New Orleans, 1804 to 1862," UCLA Economics Working Papers 119, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Pritchett, Jonathan B & Chamberlain, Richard M, 1993. "Selection in the Market for Slaves: New Orleans, 1830-1860," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 461-73, May.
  3. Pritchett, Jonathan B. & Freudenberger, Herman, 1992. "A Peculiar Sample: The Selection of Slaves for the New Orleans Market," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 109-127, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Charles W. Calomiris & Jonathan Pritchett, 2013. "Betting on Secession: Quantifying Political Events Surrounding Slavery and the Civil War," NBER Working Papers 19625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bodenhorn, Howard & Guinnane, Timothy W. & Mroz, Thomas A., 2013. "Problems of Sample-Selection Bias in the Historical Heights Literature: A Theoretical and Econometric Analysis," Working Papers 114, Yale University, Department of Economics.

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