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Was the Korean slave market efficient?

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  • Brezis, Elise S.
  • Kim, Heeho

Abstract

Over the decades, the traditional condemnation of slavery has been based not only on philosophical argumentation and moral values, but also on the conjecture that slavery was inefficient. This position led to one of the most passionate debates in economic history on the efficiency of the US slave market. This question of efficiency has not been analyzed on the slave market in Korea. The aim of this paper is to analyze the efficiency of the Korean slave market by examining the behavior of slave prices during the period 1689-1893. In order to do so, we collected long-run series of slave prices from nationwide surveys of more than 25 public and private historical records. We then tested whether the slave market was efficient using the arbitrage asset equation. We found slavery to have been efficient most of the time.

Suggested Citation

  • Brezis, Elise S. & Kim, Heeho, 2009. "Was the Korean slave market efficient?," MPRA Paper 14735, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:14735
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Wright, Gavin, 1975. "Slavery and the cotton boom," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 439-451, October.
    2. Canarella, Giorgio & Tomaske, John A., 1975. "The Optimal Utilization of Slaves," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(03), pages 621-629, September.
    3. Alfred H. Conrad & John R. Meyer, 1958. "The Economics of Slavery in the Ante Bellum South: Reply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 442-442.
    4. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Stanley Fischer, 1989. "Lectures on Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262022834, March.
    5. Fenoaltea, Stefano, 1984. "Slavery and Supervision in Comparative Perspective: A Model," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(03), pages 635-668, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    arbitrage asset equation; efficient markets; Korea; slave;

    JEL classification:

    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General

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