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A note on slavery and the roots of inequality

Author

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Soares, Rodrigo R. & Assunção, Juliano J. & Goulart, Tomás F., 2012. "A note on slavery and the roots of inequality," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 565-580.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:40:y:2012:i:4:p:565-580
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2012.02.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Graziella Bertocchi, 2016. "The legacies of slavery in and out of Africa," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, December.
    2. Graziella Bertocchi, 2015. "Slavery, racial inequality, and education," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 122-122, February.
    3. Graziella Bertocchi, 2016. "The Legacies of Slavery in and out of Africa," Department of Economics 0096, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; Slavery; Institutions; Persistency; Gini;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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