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Slave Prices from Succession and Bankruptcy Sales in Mauritius, 1825--1827

  • Shirley Chenny
  • Pascal St-Amour
  • Désiré Vencatachellum

We construct a unique data set from succession and bankruptcy sales in Mauritius to investigate the determinants of slave prices between 1825 and 1827. We find that males, females sold with children, skilled slaves and slaves sold during the peak sugar cane harvest season all fetched higher prices. In comparison, handicapped and non-native slaves were sold at a discount. Moreover, the young-children premium increased over the period. This may indicate that slave owners did not think that slavery would be abolished in the near future or thought that they would be compensated in such an event. Nous construisons une base de données unique à partir des ventes de succession et de faillites sur l'Île Maurice afin d'étudier les prix des esclaves entre 1825 et 1827. Nous trouvons que les hommes, les femmes vendues avec enfants, les esclaves qualifiés et ceux vendus en période de récolte obtiennent les prix les plus élevés. En comparaison, les esclaves avec handicap, ainsi que ceux qui ne sont pas originaires de l'Île Maurice sont vendus moins cher. De plus, la prime pour des jeunes enfants augmente durant la période étudiée. Ceci pourrait indiquer que les propriétaires n'anticipaient pas une abolition prochaine de l'esclavage ou encore pensaient recevoir une compensation financière si l'esclavage était aboli.

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2002s-79.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2002s-79
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  1. Lovejoy, Paul E. & Richardson, David, 1995. "British Abolition and its Impact on Slave Prices Along the Atlantic Coast of Africa, 1783–1850," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(01), pages 98-119, March.
  2. E. W. Evans & David Richardson, 1995. "Hunting for rents: the economics of slaving in pre-colonial Africa," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(4), pages 665-686, November.
  3. Eltis, David & Engerman, Stanley L., 2000. "The Importance of Slavery and the Slave Trade to Industrializing Britain," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 123-144, March.
  4. Eltis David & Richardson David, 1995. "Productivity in the Transatlantic Slave Trade," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 465-484, October.
  5. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  6. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1978. "The Structure of Slave Prices in New Orleans, 1804 to 1862," UCLA Economics Working Papers 119, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Newland, Carlos & San segundo, María Jesús, 1996. "Human Capital and Other Determinants of the Price Life Cycle of a Slave: Peru and La Plata in the Eighteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 694-701, September.
  8. Haines, Robin & McDonald, John & Shlomowitz, Ralph, 2001. "Mortality and Voyage Length in the Middle Passage Revisited," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 503-533, October.
  9. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
  10. Steckel, Richard H., 1979. "Slave height profiles from coastwise manifests," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 363-380, October.
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