The 'Curse of the Caribbean'? The Effects of Agency on the Efficiency of Sugar Plantations in St Vincent and the Grenadines, 1801-30

Author(s): Simon D Smith; Martin Forster

Year: 2013

Summary

This study estimates agency's impact on the efficiency of sugar plantations using a panel data set compiled from St Vincent and the Grenadines' crop accounts and slave registry returns. Previous work suggests that agency resulted from absenteeism and exerted a large, negative influence on estate efficiency. This contribution uses stochastic frontier models for panel data to estimate the impact of agency while controlling for crop mix, locational variables, and the size of the estate.  

Analysis of 4,056 observations on 215 estates shows that, while the number of estates operated by agents remained relatively constant over time, the proportion of agent-managed estates increased owing to the decline in the total number of operating plantations.  Preliminary results indicate no difference in the efficiency of sugar production between estates that were operated by agents and those that were not, but some evidence of a beneficial effect of agency on the productivity of rum.

Cite this Record

The 'Curse of the Caribbean'? The Effects of Agency on the Efficiency of Sugar Plantations in St Vincent and the Grenadines, 1801-30. Simon D Smith, Martin Forster. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428278)

Keywords

General
Caribbean Plantations Slavery

Geographic Keywords
United Kingdom Western Europe

Temporal Keywords
early C19th century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -8.158; min lat: 49.955 ; max long: 1.749; max lat: 60.722 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 299