Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Was the Korean slave market efficient?

Brezis, Elise S. and Kim, Heeho (2009): Was the Korean slave market efficient?

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Abstract

Over the decades, the traditional condemnation of slavery has been based not only on philosophical argumentation and moral values, but also on the conjecture that slavery was inefficient. This position led to one of the most passionate debates in economic history on the efficiency of the US slave market. This question of efficiency has not been analyzed on the slave market in Korea. The aim of this paper is to analyze the efficiency of the Korean slave market by examining the behavior of slave prices during the period 1689-1893. In order to do so, we collected long-run series of slave prices from nationwide surveys of more than 25 public and private historical records. We then tested whether the slave market was efficient using the arbitrage asset equation. We found slavery to have been efficient most of the time.

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