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Turnover Cost and the Distribution of slave Labor in Anglo-America

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  • Hanes, Christopher

Abstract

In the eighteenth-century British Empire and the antebellum South, slaves were concentrated in domestic service and rural enterprises like agriculture and ironworks. I argue that employers in these sectors chose to employ slaves rather than free labor because they faced especially high turnover costs—that is, costs of searching for a worker and going without labor when a free worker quit or was fired. In the absence of slavery, these sectors were marked by other institutions designed to deal with turnover costs: indentured servitude, employment agencies, and deferred compensation.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanes, Christopher, 1996. "Turnover Cost and the Distribution of slave Labor in Anglo-America," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 307-329, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:56:y:1996:i:02:p:307-329_01
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    Cited by:

    1. Masaki Nakabayashi, 2018. "From the substance to the shadow: the role of the court in Japanese labour markets," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 71(1), pages 267-289, February.
    2. James Fenske, 2013. "Does Land Abundance Explain African Institutions?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(12), pages 1363-1390, December.
    3. Gavin Wright, 2020. "Slavery and Anglo‐American capitalism revisited," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 73(2), pages 353-383, May.
    4. Suresh Naidu, 2008. "Recruitment Restrictions and labor markets: evidence from the post-bellum U.S. south," Working Papers 1114, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    5. Suresh Naidu, 2008. "Recruitment Restrictions and labor markets: evidence from the post-bellum U.S. south," Working Papers 1114, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Suresh Naidu, 2010. "Recruitment Restrictions and Labor Markets: Evidence from the Postbellum U.S. South," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 413-445, April.

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