The land-labour hypothesis revised: Wealth, labour and household composition on the South African Frontier

Research output: Working paper

Standard

The land-labour hypothesis revised : Wealth, labour and household composition on the South African Frontier . / Cilliers, Jeanne; Green, Erik.

African Economic History Network, 2017. (African Economic History Network Working Paper Series; Vol. 2017, No. 34).

Research output: Working paper

Harvard

Cilliers, J & Green, E 2017 'The land-labour hypothesis revised: Wealth, labour and household composition on the South African Frontier ' African Economic History Network Working Paper Series, no. 34, vol. 2017, African Economic History Network.

APA

Cilliers, J., & Green, E. (2017). The land-labour hypothesis revised: Wealth, labour and household composition on the South African Frontier . (African Economic History Network Working Paper Series; Vol. 2017, No. 34). African Economic History Network.

CBE

Cilliers J, Green E. 2017. The land-labour hypothesis revised: Wealth, labour and household composition on the South African Frontier . African Economic History Network. (African Economic History Network Working Paper Series; 34).

MLA

Cilliers, Jeanne and Erik Green The land-labour hypothesis revised: Wealth, labour and household composition on the South African Frontier . African Economic History Network Working Paper Series; 34. African Economic History Network. 2017., 39 p.

Vancouver

Cilliers J, Green E. The land-labour hypothesis revised: Wealth, labour and household composition on the South African Frontier . African Economic History Network. 2017 May 19. (African Economic History Network Working Paper Series; 34).

Author

Cilliers, Jeanne ; Green, Erik. / The land-labour hypothesis revised : Wealth, labour and household composition on the South African Frontier . African Economic History Network, 2017. (African Economic History Network Working Paper Series; 34).

RIS

TY - UNPB

T1 - The land-labour hypothesis revised

T2 - Wealth, labour and household composition on the South African Frontier

AU - Cilliers, Jeanne

AU - Green, Erik

PY - 2017/5/19

Y1 - 2017/5/19

N2 - Traditional frontier literature identifies a positive correlation between land availability and fertility. A common explanation is that the demand for children as labour is higher in newly established frontier regions compared to older and more densely populated farming regions. In this paper we contribute to the debate by analysing the relationship between household composition and land availability in a closing frontier region, i.e. the Graaff-Reinet district in South Africa’s Cape Colony from 1800-28. We show that the number of children present in farming households increased with frontier closure, while the presence of non-family labourers decreased over time. We explain this by, differently from the frontier literature, acknowledging that the demand for family labour was not a function of its marginal productivity and that farmers reacted to differently to diminishing land availability depending on their wealth. Poorer households, which made up the majority of this frontier population, responded to shrinking land availability by employing relatively more family labour, while the wealthiest group underwent capital intensification.

AB - Traditional frontier literature identifies a positive correlation between land availability and fertility. A common explanation is that the demand for children as labour is higher in newly established frontier regions compared to older and more densely populated farming regions. In this paper we contribute to the debate by analysing the relationship between household composition and land availability in a closing frontier region, i.e. the Graaff-Reinet district in South Africa’s Cape Colony from 1800-28. We show that the number of children present in farming households increased with frontier closure, while the presence of non-family labourers decreased over time. We explain this by, differently from the frontier literature, acknowledging that the demand for family labour was not a function of its marginal productivity and that farmers reacted to differently to diminishing land availability depending on their wealth. Poorer households, which made up the majority of this frontier population, responded to shrinking land availability by employing relatively more family labour, while the wealthiest group underwent capital intensification.

KW - South Africa

KW - household composition

KW - agriculture

KW - labour

KW - pre-industrial

KW - J23

KW - N37

KW - N57

M3 - Working paper

SN - 978-91-981477-9-7

T3 - African Economic History Network Working Paper Series

BT - The land-labour hypothesis revised

PB - African Economic History Network

ER -