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Migration and human capital: Self selection of indentured servants to the Americas

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  • Abramitzky, R.
  • Braggion, F.

    (Tilburg University)

Abstract

When contracting, European merchants could at least partially observe characteristics such as the health, physical strength, and education of indentured servants. These characteristics, unobservable to us, were likely to influence servitude duration, which is observable to us. We employ a switching regression model to analyze 2,066 servitude contracts from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Servants were positively selected to American mainland colonies in terms of their unobservable human capital and negatively selected to the West Indies. Thus, the relative quality of migrants human capital may have played a role in the subsequent relative economic performance of these regions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University in its series Open Access publications from Tilburg University with number urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-192909.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic History (2006) v.66, p.882-905
Handle: RePEc:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-192909

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Web page: http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/

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Cited by:
  1. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2010. "Europe's tired, poor, huddled masses: Self-selection and economic outcomes in the age of mass migration," NBER Working Papers 15684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kesztenbaum, Lionel & Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, 2011. "The health cost of living in a city: The case of France at the end of the 19th century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 207-225, April.
  3. Abramitzky, Ran, 2009. "The effect of redistribution on migration: Evidence from the Israeli kibbutz," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 498-511, April.

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