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An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade : The effects of an import ban on Cape Colony slaveholders

Martins, Igor LU (2019) In African Economic History Network Working Paper Series
Abstract
Few could have foreseen the consequences when the British Parliament, in 1807, passed the Slave Trade Act that sought to abolish slave imports into the British Empire. From population decreases in the British Caribbean to increased prices in the Cape Colony, historical evidence suggests that the effects of the Act were felt far and wide even though commercialization of slaves was still possible within colonial territories. Using newly digitized historical datasets covering more than 40 years in two different districts of the British Cape Colony, this paper measures changes in slave ownership and acquisition patterns from a longitudinal perspective. This approach allows me to tease out the effects of the Act on farmers with different types... (More)
Few could have foreseen the consequences when the British Parliament, in 1807, passed the Slave Trade Act that sought to abolish slave imports into the British Empire. From population decreases in the British Caribbean to increased prices in the Cape Colony, historical evidence suggests that the effects of the Act were felt far and wide even though commercialization of slaves was still possible within colonial territories. Using newly digitized historical datasets covering more than 40 years in two different districts of the British Cape Colony, this paper measures changes in slave ownership and acquisition patterns from a longitudinal perspective. This approach allows me to tease out the effects of the Act on farmers with different types of agricultural outputs, most notably crop and livestock farming, agricultural types with very different labor demands. The results show that livestock farmers, surprisingly, were more inelastic to the import ban in comparison to crop farmers. These results suggest that slaveholders could extract rents from the enslaved in a multitude of ways beyond agriculture production and calls for a broader theory of slavery as capital investment. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Working paper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
slave trade, supply shock, import ban, Cape Colony, labor demand
in
African Economic History Network Working Paper Series
issue
43
project
The Cape of the Good Hope Panel: Long-term studies of growth, inequality and labour coercion in the global south
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
03730f2f-cac4-458a-82ca-cb0bee462dd7
alternative location
https://www.aehnetwork.org/working-papers/an-act-for-the-abolition-of-the-slave-trade-the-effects-of-an-import-ban-on-cape-colony-slaveholders/
date added to LUP
2019-03-15 07:53:19
date last changed
2019-03-15 13:43:19
@misc{03730f2f-cac4-458a-82ca-cb0bee462dd7,
  abstract     = {Few could have foreseen the consequences when the British Parliament, in 1807, passed the Slave Trade Act that sought to abolish slave imports into the British Empire. From population decreases in the British Caribbean to increased prices in the Cape Colony, historical evidence suggests that the effects of the Act were felt far and wide even though commercialization of slaves was still possible within colonial territories. Using newly digitized historical datasets covering more than 40 years in two different districts of the British Cape Colony, this paper measures changes in slave ownership and acquisition patterns from a longitudinal perspective. This approach allows me to tease out the effects of the Act on farmers with different types of agricultural outputs, most notably crop and livestock farming, agricultural types with very different labor demands. The results show that livestock farmers, surprisingly, were more inelastic to the import ban in comparison to crop farmers. These results suggest that slaveholders could extract rents from the enslaved in a multitude of ways beyond agriculture production and calls for a broader theory of slavery as capital investment.},
  author       = {Martins, Igor},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {03},
  note         = {Working Paper},
  number       = {43},
  series       = {African Economic History Network Working Paper Series},
  title        = {An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade :  The effects of an import ban on Cape Colony slaveholders},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/61803402/AEHN_WP_43.pdf},
  year         = {2019},
}