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Slavery and other property rights
Review of Economic Studies , 76(1), 2009, pp.319-342
Abstract: The institution of slavery is found mostly at intermediate stages of agricultural development and less often among hunter-gatherers and advanced agrarian societies. We explain this pattern in a growth model with land and labour as inputs in production and an endogenously determined property rights institution. The economy endogenously transits from an egalitarian state with equal property rights to a despotic slave society where the elite own both people and land; thereafter, it endogenously transits into a free labour society, where the elite own the land but people are free.
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