Finding Eldorado: Slavery and Long-Run Development in Colombia

52 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2012

See all articles by Daron Acemoglu

Daron Acemoglu

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Camilo García-Jimeno

University of Pennsylvania

James A. Robinson

Harvard University - Department of Government; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: June 2012

Abstract

Slavery has been a major institution of labor coercion throughout history. Colonial societies used slavery intensively across the Americas, and slavery remained prevalent in most countries after independence from the European powers. We investigate the impact of slavery on long-run development in Colombia. Our identification strategy compares municipalities that had gold mines during the 17th and 18th centuries to neighboring municipalities without gold mines. Gold mining was a major source of demand for slave labor during colonial times, and all colonial gold mines are now depleted. We find that the historical presence of slavery is associated with increased poverty and reduced school enrollment, vaccination coverage and public good provision. We also find that slavery is associated with higher contemporary land inequality.

Suggested Citation

Acemoglu, Daron and García-Jimeno, Camilo and Robinson, James A., Finding Eldorado: Slavery and Long-Run Development in Colombia (June 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18177. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2089249

Daron Acemoglu (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Camilo García-Jimeno

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

James A. Robinson

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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