IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/afc/cliome/v10y2016i2p181-195.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The occupations of slaves sold in New Orleans: Missing values, cheap talk, or informative advertising?

Author

Listed:
  • Jonathan Pritchett

    () (Tulane University)

  • Jessica Hayes

    () (Tulane University)

Abstract

Although plantation records indicate that many slaves in the southern USA were artisans and craftsmen, relatively few slaves were recorded as such on the New Orleans sales invoices. Fogel (Without consent or contract: the rise and fall of American slavery. W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1989, p. 57, 162) assumes that the slaves without recorded occupations were unskilled workers, concluding that skilled slaves were “less than half as likely to have been sold as were ordinary field hands.” Using data from New Orleans newspapers, we find that most sales advertisements include information about the slave’s occupation. A comparison of the advertisement with the corresponding sales invoice shows that the slave’s occupation was often omitted from the invoice. Because the slave’s market price should reflect all relevant information available at the time of sale, the informational value of the slave’s advertised occupation can be estimated using regression analysis. We find that the advertised occupation affected the slave’s market price, which suggests that newspaper advertisements were informative and not simply “cheap talk.”

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Pritchett & Jessica Hayes, 2016. "The occupations of slaves sold in New Orleans: Missing values, cheap talk, or informative advertising?," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 10(2), pages 181-195, may.
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:10:y:2016:i:2:p:181-195
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11698-015-0129-y
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to journal subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Slavery Slave trade Occupations Human capital Advertisements;

    JEL classification:

    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:10:y:2016:i:2:p:181-195. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/afcccea.html .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.