Atlantic Slavery's Impact on European and British Economic Development


The  economics  literature  on  Atlantic  slavery  attests  to  its  negative  long-run impact on development outcomes in Africa and the Americas.  What was slavery’s impact on Europe?  In this paper,  I test the hypothesis that slavery contributed to  modern  economic  growth  in  Europe  using  data  on  European  participation  in the Atlantic slave trade.  I estimate a panel fixed effects model and show that the number of slaving voyages is positively associated with European city growth from 1600-1850.  A 10% increase in slaving voyages is associated with a 1.2% increase in port city population.  Using a newly created dataset on British port-level trade, I show that for the UK, this effect is distinct from that of general overseas trade, which also increased during this period.

Last updated on 11/15/2018