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Dispersion and distortions in the trans-Atlantic slave trade

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  • Dalton, John T.
  • Leung, Tin Cheuk

Abstract

Market distortions can lead to resource misallocation, which can further lead to inefficiency. Throughout the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, qualitative evidence of various sources of distortion abounds. No study, however, has quantified the inefficiency in the slave trade due to these distortions. We use a structural approach to identify the dispersion of distortions in the slave trade from wedges in first order conditions. We then calculate the TFP gains had the dispersion of distortions disappeared. Two main results emerge. First, dispersion of distortions had the smallest damage to TFP in Great Britain, followed by Portugal, and then France. Second, dispersion of distortions in the product market had a bigger impact on TFP than that of the capital and labor markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Dalton, John T. & Leung, Tin Cheuk, 2015. "Dispersion and distortions in the trans-Atlantic slave trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 412-425.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:96:y:2015:i:2:p:412-425
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2015.03.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Boxell, Levi, 2016. "A Drought-Induced African Slave Trade?," MPRA Paper 69853, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Dalton, John & Leung, Tin Cheuk, 2015. "Being Bad by Being Good: Owner and Captain Value-Added in the Slave Trade," MPRA Paper 66865, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Jevan Cherniwchan & Juan Moreno-Cruz, 2018. "Maize and Precolonial Africa," CESifo Working Paper Series 7018, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Slave trades; Market distortions; Output dispersion; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • N77 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Africa; Oceania
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism

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