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Factor Proportions, Public Finances, and Property Rights: A Test and Reformulation of Domar's Hypothesis on Serfdom or Slavery


  • Pastore, Mario H


Does Domar's Hypothesis on the Causes of Serfdom or Slavery, which he derived from the Russian record between 1450 and 1550 as told by Kliushevsky, help to understand forms of labor control in a Spanish American colony where as in Russia and continental British America, land was also abundant relative to labor? I find that fully accounting for the phenomenon alluded to implies accounting for the role of the state in the delineation and enforcement of property rights, in particular, of the early modern centralized state as it first appeared in Spain. The state's role in limiting the mobility of labor and enforcing employers cartels or not doing so appears to be a function of relative labor scarcity vis a vis land so as to extract economic rents that would otherwise accrue to labor.

Suggested Citation

  • Pastore, Mario H, 1990. "Factor Proportions, Public Finances, and Property Rights: A Test and Reformulation of Domar's Hypothesis on Serfdom or Slavery," MPRA Paper 26582, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:26582

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    labor mobility restrictions; land scarcity or abundance; labor rents and their extraction by public agents or private tax farmers; Spanish America; Paraguay; encomienda; de la mita; yanacona;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights
    • N46 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Latin America; Caribbean


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