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Born free

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  • Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter

Abstract

This paper studies coercive labor institutions in a Malthusian framework, where class is hereditary: children born by free workers are free, while children of slaves are the property of their parents' masters. When productivity increases in an urban and slave-free sector, and more free workers migrate there, slave owners respond by feeding slaves better to increase their reproduction, and thus replace migrating free workers with the slaves' offspring. As as result, slaves are made better off in the short run, while their long-run representation in the rural workforce—and possibly even the overall population—increases.

Suggested Citation

  • Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter, 2016. "Born free," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 1-10.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:121:y:2016:i:c:p:1-10
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2016.02.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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