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Indentured Migration in America's Great Basin: An Observation in Strategic Behavior in Cooperative Exchanges

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  • Scott Alan Carson

Abstract

The Perpetual Emigrating Fund was a 19th century form of indentured migration that assisted European immigrants to America's Great Basin. Immigrants signed future contracts against their Great Basin labor to repay migration loans. The Fund encountered high monitoring costs to enforce contracts in rural areas. In the absence of a strong legal system, the Fund developed a series of enforcement mechanisms that relied on social norms and morays. Hence, the Perpetual Emigrating Fund demonstrates the success and failures of an institution that attempted to remain solvent with imperfect contracts and enforcement mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Alan Carson, 2001. "Indentured Migration in America's Great Basin: An Observation in Strategic Behavior in Cooperative Exchanges," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 157(4), pages 651-676, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200112)157:4_651:imiagb_2.0.tx_2-r
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas N. Maloney & Heidi Hanson & Ken Smith, 2014. "Occupation and fertility on the frontier," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 30(29), pages 853-886, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • N2 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions
    • P0 - Economic Systems - - General
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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