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Journal Article

The Transatlantic Market for British Convict Labor

Farley Grubb
The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 60, No. 1 (Mar., 2000), pp. 94-122
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2566798
Page Count: 29

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Topics: Criminals, Transportation, Prices, Subsidies, Productivity, Contracts, Shipping, Trade, Auctions, Emigration
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Transatlantic Market for British Convict Labor
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Abstract

Convicts account for at least one-quarter of British migration to mid-eighteenth-century America. Their transportation to and disposal in America was essentially an experiment in privatizing post-trial criminal justice. A model of this trade is developed that yields testable implications regarding the relative distributional moments of convict auction prices, the size of shipper profits, and how convicts were selected for transportation. Quantitative evidence is assembled to test these implications and to measure the labor value of criminality. The results support the model and are used to explain the political economy of British penal policy.

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