This paper investigates the long-term influence of slavery and its abolition on development, social capital, and political attitudes in Brazil. I show that slavery and support for coercive institutions — measured by legislators' voting decisions on emancipation related bills at the end of the 19th century — had a persistent negative effect on development, as measured by GDP, poverty, and inequality. Focusing on social capital as a persistence mechanism, I show that the evidence is consistent with slavery and support for coercion having durably negatively affected social capital. In particular, individuals living in historically slavery-intensive municipalities with stronger support for coercive institutions exhibit lower levels of generalized trust today, and are more likely to be less supportive of democracy and to have weaker beliefs on corruption.
Journal of Historical Political Economy, Volume 1, Issue 3 Special Issue - Slavery and Its Legacies: Articles Overview
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