Free Labor and Slave Labor

Stanley L. Engerman and Robert A. Margo

in Founding Choices

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780226384740
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226384764 | DOI:
Free Labor and Slave Labor

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This chapter focuses on how the abundance of land in America implied a shortage of labor, which was mitigated not only by rapid natural increase, but also by the immigration of free labor, indentured labor, convict labor, and slave labor. During the Constitutional era, in-migration of indentured labor began to decline and an independent United States rejected convict labor from Europe. The Constitution also said little about factors affecting the stock of human capital, such as education, training, health, and internal labor mobility. The chapter discusses the effects of slave policy choices in comparison with options not adopted. The ban on slave imports, in comparison with no ban, raised the price of slaves, and especially of female slaves, the only remaining source for expansion of the slave labor stock.

Keywords: free labor; slave labor; in-migration; slave policy; slave labor stock

Chapter.  10870 words. 

Subjects: Economic History

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