The Labor Supply of the Early Roman Empire

39 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2001

See all articles by Peter Temin

Peter Temin

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

Date Written: November 2001

Abstract

I argue that it makes sense to speak of a functioning labor market in the early Roman Empire where the supply and demand for labor were equilibrated by wages and other payments to workers, albeit in a rough way. The economy of the early Roman Empire therefore had a market in this critical factor of production that resembles the labor market in more recent market economies. Slaves were included in the general labor market because Roman slavery was very different from modern slavery in the Americas. In the early Roman Empire, frequent manumission provided incentives for slaves to cooperate with their owners and act like free laborers.

Keywords: Labor force, Slavery, Roman Empire

JEL Classification: N33, J42

Suggested Citation

Temin, Peter, The Labor Supply of the Early Roman Empire (November 2001). MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 01-45. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=293397 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.293397

Peter Temin (Contact Author)

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

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