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African and European Bound Labor in the British New World: The Biological Consequences of Economic Choices

Philip Coelho () and Robert A. McGuire

The Journal of Economic History, 1997, vol. 57, issue 1, 83-115

Abstract: This article offers an explanation for the regional differences in the use of African and European bound labor in colonial America. The migrations of Africans and Europeans to the Americas set in motion an evolutionary process that caused regional changes in the disease ecology of the New World. Biological and epidemiological differences among populations explain the different regional labor supply choices. This article emphasizes the interactions between changing populations and disease environments. Diseases are intermediaries through which populations interact by causing illness and death. Not all populations are equally afflicted by specific diseases. Therein lies the story.

Date: 1997
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