Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The dynamics of inequality in a newly settled, pre-industrial society: The case of the Cape Colony

Contents:

Author Info

  • Johan Fourie

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Dieter von Fintel

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

Abstract

One reason for the relatively poor development performance of many countries around the world today may be the high levels of inequality during and after colonisation. Evidence from colonies in the Americas suggests that skewed initial factor endowments could create small elites that owned a disproportionate share of wealth, human capital and political power. The Cape Colony, founded in 1652 at the southern tip of Africa, presents a case where a mercantilist company (the Dutch East India Company) settles the land and establishes a unique set of institutions within which inequality and development evolve. This paper provides a long-run quantitative analysis of trends in asset-based inequality (using Principle Components' Analysis on tax inventories) during the seventeenth and eighteenth century, allowing, for the first time, a dynamic rather than static analysis of inequality trends in a newly settled and pre-industrial society over this period. While theory testing in other societies has been severely limited because of a scarcity of quantitative evidence, this study presents a history with evidence, enabling an evaluation of the Engerman-Sokoloff and other hypotheses.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2009/wp172009/wp-17-2009.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 17/2009.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers90

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Private Bag X1, 7602 Matieland
Phone: 021-8082247
Fax: +27 (0)21-808 2409
Email:
Web page: http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: South Africa; settler societies; Kuznets; income distribution; asset index; institutions; mercantilism; Dutch East India Company;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Feinstein, Charles, 1988. "The Rise and Fall of the Williamson Curve," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(03), pages 699-729, September.
  2. Boshoff, Willem H. & Fourie, Johan, 2010. "The significance of the Cape trade route to economic activity in the Cape Colony: a medium-term business cycle analysis," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(03), pages 469-503, December.
  3. Chen, Chau-Nan & Tsaur, Tien-Wang & Rhai, Tong-Shieng, 1982. "The Gini Coefficient and Negative Income," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 473-78, November.
  4. David McKenzie, 2005. "Measuring inequality with asset indicators," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 229-260, 06.
  5. Morrisson, Christian, 2000. "Historical perspectives on income distribution: The case of Europe," Handbook of Income Distribution, Elsevier, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 217-260 Elsevier.
  6. Champernowne, D G, 1974. "A Comparison of Measures of Inequality of Income Distribution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 84(336), pages 787-816, December.
  7. Jane M. Fry & Tim R.L. Fry & Keith R. McLaren, 1996. "Compositional Data Analysis and Zeros in Micro Data," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre g-120, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
  8. Kuznets, Simon, 1971. "Modern Economic Growth: Findings and Reflections," Nobel Prize in Economics documents, Nobel Prize Committee 1971-2, Nobel Prize Committee.
  9. Willem Boshoff & Johan Fourie, 2008. "Explaining ship traffic fluctuations in the early Cape settlement: 1652–1793," Working Papers, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics 01/2008, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  10. Ewout Frankema, 2010. "The colonial roots of land inequality: geography, factor endowments, or institutions?," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, Economic History Society, vol. 63(2), pages 418-451, 05.
  11. Milanovic,Branko & Lindert, Peter H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2007. "Measuring ancient inequality," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 4412, The World Bank.
  12. Keen, Michael, 1986. "Zero Expenditures and the Estimation of Engel Curves," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(3), pages 277-86, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Piraino, Patrizio & Muller, Sean & Cilliers, Jeanne & Fourie, Johan, 2013. "The transmission of longevity across generations: The case of the settler Cape Colony," SALDRU Working Papers, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town 113, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  2. Johan Fourie & Jan Luiten Zanden, 2013. "GDP in the Dutch Cape Colony: The National Accounts of a Slave-Based Society," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 81(4), pages 467-490, December.
  3. Jerven, Morten & Austin, Gareth & Green, Erik & Uche, Chibuike & Frankema, Ewout & Fourie, Johan & Inikori, Joseph & Moradi, Alexander & Hillbom, Ellen, 2012. "Moving Forward in African Economic History. Bridging the Gap Between Methods and Sources," Lund Papers in Economic History, Department of Economic History, Lund University 124, Department of Economic History, Lund University.
  4. Johan Fourie, 2011. "Slaves as capital investment in the Dutch Cape Colony, 1652-1795," Working Papers, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics 21/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers90. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Melt van Schoor).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.