Based on data from probate inventories we construct and analyze an annual time
series of slave prices for South Carolina from 1722 to 1809. Comparison of South
Carolina slave prices with those in other parts of the Western Hemisphere and the
relationship between slave prices and slave imports indicate that while the long-run
supply of slaves was highly elastic, over periods of one to two decades the supply
curve was upward sloping. Comparison of our slave price series with an index of
agricultural export prices indicates that labor productivity growth in agriculture was
modest over the eighteenth century.
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