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Selection in the Market for Slaves: New Orleans, 1830-1860

Jonathan B. Pritchett and Richard M. Chamberlain
The Quarterly Journal of Economics
Vol. 108, No. 2 (May, 1993), pp. 461-473
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2118339
Page Count: 13
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Selection in the Market for Slaves: New Orleans, 1830-1860
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Abstract

Greenwald and Glasspiegel argue that adverse selection depressed the market prices of slaves, causing current researchers to overestimate the rate of return from slavery. In this paper we test for the presence of adverse selection by comparing the prices of local slaves with the prices of slaves sold from estate sales. We find no difference in the prices of these slaves, from which we conclude that there was no significant adverse selection in the market. Instead, we propose an alternative explanation for the observed pattern of slave prices based on the costs of shipping slaves to the New Orleans market.

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