Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/189907
Authors: 
Klein, Alexander
Ogilvie, Sheilagh C.
Year of Publication: 
2017
Series/Report no.: 
School of Economics Discussion Papers 1717
Abstract: 
Do factor endowments explain serfdom? Domar (1970) conjectured that high land-labor ratios caused serfdom by increasing incentives to coerce labor. But historical evidence is mixed and quantitative analyses are lacking. Using the Acemoglu-Wolitzky (2011) framework and controlling for political economy variables by studying a specific serf society, we analyze 11,349 Bohemian serf villages in 1757. The net effect of higher land-labor ratios was indeed to increase coercion. The effect greatly increased when animal labor was included, and diminished as land-labor ratios rose. Controlling for other variables, factor endowments significantly influenced serfdom. Institutions, we conclude, are shaped partly by economic fundamentals.
Subjects: 
serfdom
land-labor ratio
institutions
labor coercion
rural-urban interaction
JEL: 
J47
N33
O43
P48
Document Type: 
Working Paper
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