Slave labor productivity and wine output: Stellenbosch, 1680–1828
This paper examines wine output and slave labor productivity in the Dutch and British Cape Colony, leveraging annual tax censuses. We document a substantial increase in wine production, but, despite substantial institutional changes over more than a century, we find surprisingly stable median wine yields. Exploiting the farm-level nature of our data, we observe increasing heterogeneity in wine yields, suggesting that some farmers were able to realize productivity increases. We show that efficient slave labor utilization was a critical driver of productivity enhancement, largely unaffected by external factors.
Keywords: cliometrics; colonization; settler economies; slavery; wine production