Planter's Portfolios in Antebellum Virginia

  • Irwin, James J.R. (PI)

Grant Details


9309494 Irwin The purpose of this research is to analyze the portfolios of wealthy slave owners in antebellum Virginia, and to determine how they allocated their assets among slaves, land, and all other forms of wealth. A data set will be assembled of estate- inventories of wealthy decedents from the probate records of Virginia County Courts, and these records will be linked to federal census schedules, county land-tax and deed records, and to personal records such as family letters, histories, and account books. The research will analyze the resulting linked data set drawing on modern finance theory of portfolio choice. Of particular interest is whether rich southerners were over committed to slaves and land and averse to investing in manufacturing and commercial finance. The economic issue of considerable historical significance is the role planter's portfolio choice played in the economic growth and development of the antebellum south. This research may help explain the relatively minor role of manufacturing in the development process during that period. ***

Effective start/end date11/15/9304/30/96


  • National Science Foundation: $95,623.00


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