IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Optimal Utilization of Slaves


  • Canarella, Giorgio
  • Tomaske, John A.


A Major theme in the historiography of American slavery is the analysis of the slave plantation as a capitalist market oriented enterprise. Much of the controversy surrounding the work of such scholars as Stanley Elkins, Kenneth Stampp and Eugene Genovese stems from differing views of the interaction of commercial capitalism with the ancient institution of slavery. A recurrent topic in this literature is the impact of the profit motive and competitive market conditions on the relationship between master and slave. A major concern is the extent these capitalist incentives may have motivated the master to either brutalize or ameliorate the conditions of the slave's existence.We wish to thank the following who read earlier drafts of this paper and made useful suggestions and criticisms: Professors Jerry Fastrup, George Jensen, Roger Ransom, Richard Roseman, and an anonymous referee. This study is part of a larger project, “The Optimal Accumulation and Utilization of Slaves†(forthcoming), which extends both static and dynamic neoclassical models of the firm to cases involving slavery.

Suggested Citation

  • Canarella, Giorgio & Tomaske, John A., 1975. "The Optimal Utilization of Slaves," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(3), pages 621-629, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:35:y:1975:i:03:p:621-629_07

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no


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

    Cited by:

    1. Brezis, Elise S. & Kim, Heeho, 2009. "Was the Korean slave market efficient?," MPRA Paper 14735, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Kauffman, Kyle D. & Cribari-Neto, Francisco, 1995. "To pay or not to pay: Positive incentives as a calibrating device in the white indenture system," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 257-269.
    3. Versiani, Flávio Rabelo, 1994. "Brazilian slavery: toward an economic analysis," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil), vol. 48(4), October.
    4. Michael Suk-Young Chwe, 1990. "Violence in Incentives: Pain in a Principal-Agent Model," Discussion Papers 871, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:cup:jechis:v:35:y:1975:i:03:p:621-629_07. 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: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: .

    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.