Constructing Labor Markets: The Valuation of Black Labor in the U.S. South, 1831 to 1867

dc.contributor.author

Ruef, M

dc.date.accessioned

2023-05-22T14:20:50Z

dc.date.available

2023-05-22T14:20:50Z

dc.date.issued

2012

dc.date.updated

2023-05-22T14:20:49Z

dc.description.abstract

In the U.S. South, a free labor market rapidly-although, in some cases, only nominally-replaced the plantation system of slave labor in the years following the American Civil War. Drawing on data comprising 75,099 transactions in the antebellum period, as well as 1,378 labor contracts in the postbellum era, I examine how the valuation of black labor was transformed between the 1830s and the years of emancipation. I trace the process of valuation through four markets for labor, moving from slave purchases and appraisals within the plantation economy, to the antebellum system of hiring out, to wage-setting for black labor under the auspices of the Freedmen's Bureau. Comparative analysis of labor pricing across these markets reveals systematic differences: slave markets placed price premiums on children and young women, and occupational skills emerged as the most salient influence in the pricing of wage labor. I conclude by theorizing how transvaluation of labor occurs when markets for unfree and free workers are governed by distinct institutional conditions. © American Sociological Association 2012.

dc.identifier.issn

1939-8271

dc.identifier.issn

1939-8271

dc.identifier.uri

https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27400

dc.language

en

dc.publisher

American Sociological Association

dc.relation.ispartof

American Sociological Review

dc.relation.isversionof

10.1177/0003122412465282

dc.subject

human capital

dc.subject

labor markets

dc.subject

slavery

dc.subject

statistical discrimination

dc.title

Constructing Labor Markets: The Valuation of Black Labor in the U.S. South, 1831 to 1867

dc.type

Journal article

duke.contributor.orcid

Ruef, M|0000-0002-8134-1514

pubs.begin-page

970

pubs.end-page

998

pubs.issue

6

pubs.organisational-group

Duke

pubs.organisational-group

Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

pubs.organisational-group

Sociology

pubs.organisational-group

Institutes and Provost's Academic Units

pubs.organisational-group

Initiatives

pubs.organisational-group

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship

pubs.publication-status

Published

pubs.volume

77

Files

Original bundle

Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
Loading...
Thumbnail Image
Name:
2012_ASR_Ruef.pdf
Size:
571.24 KB
Format:
Adobe Portable Document Format
Description:
Accepted version