The Introduction of Serfdom and Labor Markets

55 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2018

See all articles by Peter S. Jensen

Peter S. Jensen

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics

Cristina Victoria Radu

University of Southern Denmark

Battista Severgnini

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Economics

Paul Richard Sharp

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics

Date Written: November 2018

Abstract

We provide evidence of how restrictions on labor mobility, such as serfdom and other types of labor coercion, impact labor market outcomes. To do so, we estimate the impact of a large negative shock to labor mobility in the form of the reintroduction of serfdom in Denmark in 1733, which was targeted at limiting the mobility of farmhands. Using a unique data source based on the archives of estates from the eighteenth century, we test whether serfdom affected the wages of farmhands more strongly than other groups in the labor market, and results based on a differences-in-differences approach reveal evidence consistent with a strong negative effect following its introduction. We also investigate whether one mechanism was that boys with rural backgrounds were prevented from taking up apprenticeships in towns, and find suggestive evidence that this was indeed the case. Thus, our results suggest that serfdom was effectively reducing mobility.

Keywords: coercion, labor mobility, serfdom

JEL Classification: J3, N33, P4

Suggested Citation

Jensen, Peter S. and Radu, Cristina Victoria and Severgnini, Battista and Sharp, Paul Richard, The Introduction of Serfdom and Labor Markets (November 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3283007

Peter S. Jensen (Contact Author)

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense M, 5230
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.sam.sdu.dk/staff/psj

Cristina Victoria Radu

University of Southern Denmark ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense, 5000
Denmark

Battista Severgnini

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Economics ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

Paul Richard Sharp

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

DK-5230 Odense
Denmark

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