Slavery and Development in Nineteenth Century Brazil

75 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2020 Last revised: 14 May 2021

See all articles by Nuno Pedro G. Palma

Nuno Pedro G. Palma

University of Manchester

Andrea Papadia

Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale of Lugano - Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Thales Pereira

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV)

Leonardo Weller

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics

Date Written: November 2020

Abstract

This article brings new evidence on the legacy of slavery in nineteenth-century Brazil to bear on the history of economic development. Its conclusions contribute to the debate raised by the New History of Capitalism (NHC) about the critical role played by slavery in the industrialization of the United States. We argue that the NHC lacks a comparative perspective. Brazil imported more slaves than any other country in the world and slavery lasted longer and was more widespread than in the U.S. South. Rather than promoting economic growth and development, the evidence shows that slavery held back industrialization in Brazil. We also discuss the role of slavery on agricultural productivity and show that, as in the U.S., the use of violence does not explain increases in the productivity of cotton plantations.

JEL Classification: J47, N56, N66, O54

Suggested Citation

Palma, Nuno Pedro G. and Papadia, Andrea and Pereira, Thales and Weller, Leonardo, Slavery and Development in Nineteenth Century Brazil (November 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15495, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3753894

Nuno Pedro G. Palma (Contact Author)

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, N/A M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Andrea Papadia

Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale of Lugano - Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Lugano
Switzerland

Thales Pereira

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) ( email )

R. Dr. Neto de Araujo 320 cj 1307
Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro 22250-900
Brazil

Leonardo Weller

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics ( email )

Rua Itapeva 474 s.1202
São Paulo, São Paulo 01332-000
Brazil

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