Start-Up Nation? Slave Wealth and Entrepreneurship in Civil War Maryland

37 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2016

See all articles by Felipe González

Felipe González

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile - Institute of Economics

Guillermo Marshall

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Suresh Naidu

Columbia University

Date Written: August 2016

Abstract

Slave property rights yielded a source of collateral as well as a coerced labor force. Using data from Dun and Bradstreet linked to the 1860 census and slave schedules in Maryland, we find that slaveowners were more likely to start businesses prior to the uncompensated 1864 emancipation, even conditional on total wealth and human capital, and this advantage disappears after emancipation. We assess a number of potential explanations, and find suggestive evidence that this is due to the superiority of slave wealth as a source of collateral for credit rather than any advantage in production. The collateral dimension of slave property magnifies its importance to historical American economic development.

Suggested Citation

González, Felipe and Marshall, Guillermo and Naidu, Suresh, Start-Up Nation? Slave Wealth and Entrepreneurship in Civil War Maryland (August 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22483. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2819868

Felipe González (Contact Author)

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile - Institute of Economics ( email )

Casilla 76
Correo 17
Santiago
Chile

Guillermo Marshall

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

214 David Kinley Hall
1407 W Gregory Dr
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

Suresh Naidu

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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