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Just and Reasonable Treatment: Racial Treatment in the Terms of Pauper Apprenticeship in Antebellum Maryland

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  • Howard Bodenhorn

Abstract

This paper investigates the economics of pauper apprenticeship in antebellum Maryland and several results emerge. Contrary to some earlier interpretations, the system did not arbitrarily indent poor children. Court officials negotiated contracts that reflected an apprentice's productivity; officials did not offer one-size-fits-all contracts to minimize the costs of indenting indigent children. Black and white children received comparable compensation during the term of the indenture, but blacks were promised and received substantially less education than whites. It was in the provision of education that Maryland's system discriminated against blacks and undermined their ability to achieve long-run economic independence.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard Bodenhorn, 2003. "Just and Reasonable Treatment: Racial Treatment in the Terms of Pauper Apprenticeship in Antebellum Maryland," NBER Working Papers 9752, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9752
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9752.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hamilton, Gillian, 1996. "The Market for Montreal Apprentices: Contract Length and Information," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 496-523, October.
    2. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
    3. Grubb, Farley, 2000. "The Statutory Regulation of Colonial Servitude: An Incomplete-Contract Approach," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 42-75, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Howard Bodenhorn, 2006. "Single Parenthood and Childhood Outcomes in the Mid-Nineteenth Century Urban South," NBER Working Papers 12056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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