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IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Work in Progress Seminar

The intergenerational impact of violence on health and family outcomes: the case of slavery

Marie Leila Beigelman (University of Barcelona and STICERD)

Thursday 26 May 2022 13:00 - 14:00

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About this event

This paper investigates the intergenerational impact of violence on health and family outcomes, using as study context slavery in the French West Indies. I first show how slaves’ living condition and exposure to violence differed sizably according to the crop produced on the plantation (sugar, coffee). I use 15 years of archival records of slaves’ deaths at the county level before the abolition of slavery (1848) and show that slaves attached to sugarcane plantations were exposed to the worse living conditions for two main reasons: because of differences in the production process, and because of a plausibly exogenous change in sugarcane price due to the introduction of beet sugar production in Northern France in the early 19th century. I next rely on these findings to investigate whether differences in exposure to violence before the abolition transmitted across generations to explain health outcomes (child mortality, life expectancy) and family dynamics (fertility, marriage, family composition). The unicity of French West Indies surnames - 95% of surnames given to less than 10 individuals in 1848 - allows me to identify those exposed to the worst pre-abolition conditions from the first census of former slaves. I then undertake a massive digitation effort of primary sources of deaths and births records from 1848 to 1890 to follow slaves’ descendants demographic outcomes. This is the first empirical study that investigates persistency at the family level over more than five generations, which allows me to document the dynamics of family transmission.

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS, STICERD, and UCL.

IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Economics Work In Progress seminars are held on Thursdays in term time at 13:00-14:00, at the IFS, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar organisers: Oriana Bandiera (STICERD, LSE), Imran Rasul (UCL), Britta Augsburg (IFS) and Jonathan Weigel (LSE).

For further information please contact Britta Augsburg:

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