IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wpa/wuwpge/0212002.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Roads To and From Serfdom

Author

Listed:
  • Nils-Petter Lagerlof

    (Concordia University)

Abstract

The institution of slavery displays a puzzling historical pattern: it is found mostly at intermediate stages of agricultural development, in horticultural societies, and less frequently among hunter-gatherers and societies at more advanced agrarian stages. We explain this rise-and- fall pattern of slavery in a growth model with land and labor as inputs in production. The "organization" of society is determined endogenously, and depends on agricultural technology and population density, both of which also evolve endogenously over time, and depend on how society is organized. The model replicates the full transition of the economy from an egalitarian society with no property rights; to a slave society where a despotic ruler owns both land and people; and finally into a society with a free labor market, where the ruler owns all land but all agents own their labor. In this process, the role of population growth switches from being a force driving the transition into slavery, to a force behind the transition from slavery to free labor. Our model also explains several other historical facts, e.g. why Europeans replaced free labor with slavery following the discovery of the Americas, and why those states in the 19th century US which had sparser population had a larger percentage slaves in the population.

Suggested Citation

  • Nils-Petter Lagerlof, 2002. "The Roads To and From Serfdom," GE, Growth, Math methods 0212002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpge:0212002
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on Scientific Workplace; figures: included
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/ge/papers/0212/0212002.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Smith, Vernon L, 1975. "The Primitive Hunter Culture, Pleistocene Extinction, and the Rise of Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 727-755, August.
    2. Brander, James A & Taylor, M Scott, 1998. "The Simple Economics of Easter Island: A Ricardo-Malthus Model of Renewable Resource Use," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 119-138, March.
    3. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191.
    4. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1995. "Anarchy and Its Breakdown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 26-52, February.
    5. Smith, Vernon L, 1992. "Economic Principles in the Emergence of Humankind: Presidential Address to the Western Economic Association, June 30, 1991," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(1), pages 1-13, January.
    6. Tamura, Robert, 2006. "Human capital and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 26-72, February.
    7. Jones Charles I., 2001. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-45, August.
    8. Kogel, Tomas & Prskawetz, Alexia, 2001. "Agricultural Productivity Growth and Escape from the Malthusian Trap," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 337-357, December.
    9. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    10. Fogel, Robert W & Engerman, Stanley L, 1977. "Explaining the Relative Efficiency of Slave Agriculture in the Antebellum South," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 275-296, June.
    11. Goldin, Claudia Dale, 1973. "The Economics of Emancipation," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(01), pages 66-85, March.
    12. Tamura, Robert, 2002. "Human capital and the switch from agriculture to industry," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 207-242, December.
    13. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 150-154, May.
    14. Nicolas Marceau & Gordon M. Myers, 2000. "From Foraging to Agriculture," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 103, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
    15. 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.
    16. Genicot, Garance, 2002. "Bonded labor and serfdom: a paradox of voluntary choice," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 101-127, February.
    17. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
    18. Galor, Oded & Mountford, Andrew, 2002. "Why are a Third of People Indian and Chinese? Trade, Industrialization and Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 3136, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
    20. North, Douglass C. & Thomas, Robert Paul, 1971. "The Rise and Fall of the Manorial System: A Theoretical Model," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(04), pages 777-803, December.
    21. Goodfriend, Marvin & McDermott, John, 1995. "Early Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 116-133, March.
    22. Matthew J. Baker, 2003. "An Equilibrium Conflict Model of Land Tenure in Hunter-Gatherer Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(1), pages 124-173, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2006. "From domestic manufacture to Industrial Revolution: long-run growth and agricultural development," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 264-287, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Slavery; growth; intsitutions; population;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpge:0212002. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA). General contact details of provider: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.