EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Prison Labor: The Price of Prisons and the Lasting Effects of Incarceration

Belinda Archibong and Nonso Obikili

No 31637, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Institutions of justice, like prisons, can be used to serve economic and other extrajudicial interests, with lasting deleterious effects. We study the effects on incarceration when prisoners are primarily used as a source of labor using evidence from British colonial Nigeria. We digitized 65 years of archival records on prisons from 1920 to 1995 and provide new estimates on the value of colonial prison labor and the effects of labor demand shocks on incarceration. We find that prison labor was economically valuable to the colonial regime, making up a significant share of colonial public works expenditure. Positive economic shocks increased incarceration rates over the colonial period. This result is reversed in the postcolonial period, where prison labor is not a notable feature of state public finance. We document a significant reduction in present-day trust in legal institutions, such as the police, in areas with high historical exposure to colonial imprisonment; the resulting reduction in trust is specific to legal institutions.

JEL-codes: H5 J47 N37 O10 O43 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-law, nep-lma and nep-soc
Note: DAE DEV POL
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations:

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.nber.org/papers/w31637.pdf (application/pdf)
Access to the full text is generally limited to series subscribers, however if the top level domain of the client browser is in a developing country or transition economy free access is provided. More information about subscriptions and free access is available at http://www.nber.org/wwphelp.html. Free access is also available to older working papers.

Related works:
Working Paper: Prison Labour: The Price of Prisons and the Lasting Effects of Incarceration (2020)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:nbr:nberwo:31637

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
http://www.nber.org/papers/w31637
The price is Paper copy available by mail.

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

 
Page updated 2024-03-31
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:31637