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Slavery and development in nineteenth century Brazil

Nuno Palma, Andrea Papadia (), Thales Pereira and Leonardo Weller
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Thales Pereira: São Paulo School of Economics/FGV

CAGE Online Working Paper Series from Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE)

Abstract: This paper brings new evidence on the legacy of slavery to economic development through the case study of Brazil during the nineteenth century. The conclusions contribute to the debate brought by the New History of Capitalism (NHC) about the role of slavery and industrialization in the United States. We argue that the NHC lacks a comparative perspective. Brazil imported more slaves than any other country in the world and slavery lasted longer and was more widespread than in the U.S. south. Rather than promoting economic growth and development, the evidence shows that slavery held back industrialization in Brazil. We also discuss the role of slavery on agricultural productivity and show that, as in the U.S. the use of violence does not explain increases in the productivity of cotton plantations.

Keywords: Slavery; Comparative History; New History of Capitalism JEL Classification: (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-gro and nep-his
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