Was Domar Right? Serfdom and Factor Endowments in Bohemia

87 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2017

See all articles by Alexander Klein

Alexander Klein

University of Kent - Canterbury Campus

Sheilagh Ogilvie

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: October 2017

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.

Keywords: serfdom; land-labor ratio; institutions; labor coercion; rural-urban interaction

JEL Classification: J47, N33, O43, P48

Suggested Citation

Klein, Alexander and Ogilvie, Sheilagh, Was Domar Right? Serfdom and Factor Endowments in Bohemia (October 2017). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12388. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3057322

Alexander Klein (Contact Author)

University of Kent - Canterbury Campus ( email )

Keynes College
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP
United Kingdom

Sheilagh Ogilvie

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Austin Robinson Building
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom
44-1223-335200 (Phone)
44-1223-335475 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/people/faculty/sco2

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
0
Abstract Views
118
PlumX Metrics
!

Under construction: SSRN citations while be offline until July when we will launch a brand new and improved citations service, check here for more details.

For more information