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A note on slavery and the roots of inequality

  • Soares, Rodrigo R.
  • Assunção, Juliano J.
  • Goulart, Tomás F.

We use various secondary historical sources to compile a database containing information on the number of African slaves received by each destination country between the 16th and 19th centuries. We then construct a measure of intensity of African slavery use based on the flow of slaves received divided by historical populations. We also construct a proxy for the use of native slavery. The slavery variables are highly correlated with current levels of inequality. The correlation between our slavery use variables and inequality is stronger than that observed between inequality and development, geographic characteristics, institutional quality, and provision of public goods. The evidence suggests that use of slavery in the historical past may be an important determinant of the levels of inequality observed today across the globe.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.

Volume (Year): 40 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 565-580

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:40:y:2012:i:4:p:565-580
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864

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