The Labor Supply of the Early Roman Empire
39 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2001
Date Written: November 2001
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: Suggested Citation