the effects of slavery on economic performance

Nathan Nunn has a paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics estimating the effect of slavery on long term growth:

Can part of Africa’s current underdevelopment be explained by its slave trades? To explore this question, I use data from shipping records and historical documents reporting slave ethnicities to construct estimates of the number of slaves exported from each country during Africa’s slave trades. I find a robust negative relationship between the number of slaves exported from a country and current economic performance. To better understand if the relationship is causal, I examine the historical evidence on selection into the slave trades and use instrumental variables. Together the evidence suggests that the slave trades had an adverse effect on economic development.

Check it out.

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Written by fabiorojas

April 23, 2014 at 12:01 am

Posted in economics, fabio

2 Responses

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  1. This is a great paper, but it is certainly not new – it was published six years ago and is incredibly well cited by political economy types! As far as I know, the slave trade paper was circulating when Nathan was still a grad student, and he’s now a tenured professor.

    Nonetheless, it is well worth reading.



    April 23, 2014 at 1:21 am

  2. Corrected, and yes, excellent reading.



    April 23, 2014 at 1:27 am

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