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

GDP in the Dutch Cape Colony: The national accounts of a slave-based society

Contents:

Author Info

  • Johan Fourie
  • Jan Luiten van Zanden

    (Universiteit Stellenbosch and Universiteit Utrecht)

Abstract

New estimates of GDP of the Dutch Cape Colony (1652-1795) suggest that the Cape was one of the most prosperous regions during the eighteenth century. This stands in sharp contrast to the perceived view that the Cape was an “economic and social backwater”, a slave economy with slow growth and little progress. Following a national accounts framework, we find that Cape settlers’ per capita income is similar to the most prosperous countries of the time – Holland and England. We trace the roots of this result, showing that it is partly explained by a highly skewed population structure and very low dependency ratio of slavery, and attempt to link the eighteenth century Cape Colony experience to twentieth century South African income levels.

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.cgeh.nl/sites/default/files/WorkingPapers/CGEH.WP_.No30.Fourie%26vanZanden.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History in its series Working Papers with number 0030.

as in new window
Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucg:wpaper:0030

Contact details of provider:
Postal: University of Utrecht, Drift 10, The Netherlands
Web page: http://www.cgeh.nl
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: South Africa; slave; income; growth; GDP per capita; production;

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. Johan Fourie & Dieter von Fintel, 2009. "The dynamics of inequality in a newly settled, preindustrial society: The case of the Cape Colony," Working Papers 134, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  2. Willem H Boshoff & Johan Fourie, 2008. "The significance of the Cape trade route to economic activity in the Cape colony: a medium-term business cycle analysis," Working Papers 23/2008, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  3. Jan Luiten van Zanden & Bas van Leeuwen, 2011. "The Character of growth before 'modern economics growth'? The GDP of Holland between 1347 and 1807," Working Papers 0004, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  4. Feinstein,Charles H., 2005. "An Economic History of South Africa," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521850919.
  5. Sophia du Plessis & Stan du Plessis, 2012. "Happy in the service of the Company: the purchasing power of VOC salaries at the Cape in the 18th century," Working Papers 01/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  6. Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
  7. Johan Fourie, 2013. "The remarkable wealth of the Dutch Cape Colony: measurements from eighteenth-century probate inventories," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 66(2), pages 419-448, 05.
  8. Feinstein,Charles H., 2005. "An Economic History of South Africa," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521616416.
  9. Willem Boshoff & Johan Fourie, 2008. "Explaining ship traffic fluctuations in the early Cape settlement: 1652–1793," Working Papers 01/2008, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Debt and development
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-05-04 13:24:39
  2. Debt and development
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2012-05-04 13:24:39
  3. Measuring progress
    by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2013-11-29 08:32:26
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Stephen Broadberry & Leigh Gardner, 2014. "African economic growth in a European mirror: a historical perspective," Economic History Working Papers 56493, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  2. Johan Fourie, 2011. "Slaves as capital investment in the Dutch Cape Colony, 1652-1795," Working Papers 21/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  3. Jörg Baten & Johan Fourie, 2012. "Slave numeracy in the Cape Colony and comparative development in the eighteenth century," Working Papers 270, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  4. 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 124, Department of Economic History, Lund University.

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:ucg:wpaper:0030. 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: (Sarah Carmichael).

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.