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The introduction of serfdom and labor markets

Author

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  • Jensen, Peter Sandholt

    (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Radu, Cristina Victoria

    (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Severgnini, Battista

    (Copenhagen Business School)

  • Sharp, Paul

    (University of Southern Denmark, CAGE, CEPR)

Abstract

We provide evidence of how restrictions on labor mobility, such as serfdom and other types of labor coercion, impact labor market outcomes. To do so, we estimate the impact of a large negative shock to labor mobility in the form of the reintroduction of serfdom in Denmark in 1733, which was targeted at limiting the mobility of farmhands. Using a unique data source based on the archives of estates from the eighteenth century, we test whether serfdom affected the wages of farmhands more strongly than other groups in the labor market, and results based on a differences-in-differences approach reveal evidence consistent with a strong negative effect following its introduction. We also investigate whether one mechanism was that boys with rural backgrounds were prevented from taking up apprenticeships in towns, and find suggestive evidence that this was indeed the case. Thus, our results suggest that serfdom was effectively reducing mobility.

Suggested Citation

  • Jensen, Peter Sandholt & Radu, Cristina Victoria & Severgnini, Battista & Sharp, Paul, 2018. "The introduction of serfdom and labor markets," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 393, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:393
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    Cited by:

    1. Nina Boberg-Fazlic & Markus Lampe & Pablo Martinelli Lasheras & Paul Sharp, 2020. "Winners and Losers from Enclosure: Evidence from Danish Land Inequality 1682-1895," Working Papers 0178, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    2. Peter Sandholt Jensen & Cristina Victoria Radu & Paul Sharp, 2019. "Days Worked and Seasonality Patterns of Work in Eighteenth Century Denmark," Working Papers 0162, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Peter Sandholt Jensen & Cristina Victoria Radu & Paul Sharp, 2020. "Standards of Living and Skill Premia in Eighteenth Century Denmark: What can we learn from a large microlevel wage database?," Working Papers 0180, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Serfdom; labor mobility; coercion JEL Classification: J3; N33; P4;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • P4 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems

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