【AEW webinar】Slavery and the British Industrial Revolution

  • 研討會日期 : 2022-09-15
  • 時間 : 15:00
  • 主講人 : Professor Hans-Joachim Voth
  • 地點 : Register and join online
  • 演講者簡介 : Professor Voth received D.Phil. from Nuffield College, Oxford University in 1996. He is currently the UBS Foundation Professor of Economics at University of Zurich. His area of specialization is economic and financial history.
  • 演講摘要 : Did overseas slave-holding by Britons accelerate the Industrial Revolution? We provide theory and evidence on the contribution of slave wealth to Britain’s growth prior to 1835. We compare areas of Britain with high and low exposure to the colonial plantation economy, using granular data on wealth from compensation records. Before the major expansion of slave holding from the 1640s onwards, both types of area exhibited similar levels of economic activity. However, by the 1830s, slavery wealth is strongly correlated with economic development – slave-holding areas are less agricultural, closer to cotton mills, and have higher property wealth. We rationalize these findings using a dynamic spatial model, where slavery investment raises the return to capital accumulation, expanding production in capital-intensive sectors. To establish causality, we use arguably exogenous variation in slave mortality on the passage from Africa to the Indies, driven by weather shocks. We show that weather shocks influenced the continued involvement of ancestors in the slave trade; weather-induced slave mortality of slave-trading ancestors in each area is strongly predictive of slaveholding in 1833. Quantifying our model using the observed data, we find that Britain would have been substantially poorer and more agricultural in the absence of overseas slave wealth. Overall, our findings are consistent with the view that slavery wealth accelerated Britain’s industrial revolution.
  • AEW Working Paper : Letting Old Data Speak: Local Cultural Traits in Qing China Grain Prices
  • Working paper 演講者簡介 : Professor Cheung received his Ph.D. in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018. He is currently an Assistant Research Fellow at the Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica. His research interests are Growth and Development, Labor Economics, and Economic History.
  • Working paper 演講摘要 : Detecting data manipulation in the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) reveals that such cheating behavior has persisted in modern China, for centuries. Qing prefectural officials were responsible for assembling local grain price data. We use the fact that grain prices are seasonal and cannot stay constant for a prolonged period as an indicator for Qing data manipulation. Using the instrumental variable approach, we find that Qing data quality reliably predicts data misreporting and exaggeration in modern China. We also identify that persistence was higher in more affluent places, like treaty port and coastal areas, where cheating can lead to higher rewards.