Preserving Slave Families for Profit: Traders' Incentives and Pricing in the New Orleans Slave Market
We investigate the determinants of slave family discounts, using data from the New Orleans slave market. We find large price discounts for families which cannot be explained by scale effects, childcare costs, legal restrictions, or transport costs. Because family members cared for each other, sellers found it advantageous to keep some families together. Evidence from the manifests of ships carrying slaves to be sold in New Orleans provides direct evidence for our model of selectivity bias in explaining slave family discounts. Children likely to have been shipped with their mothers are 1-2 inches shorter than other children.
Published: Calomiris, Charles W. & Pritchett, Jonathan B., 2009. "Preserving Slave Families for Profit: Traders' Incentives and Pricing in the New Orleans Slave Market," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(04), pages 986-1011, December.