Jonathan Pritchett


I have done research on the economics of the domestic slave trade of the United States with particular emphasis on the New Orleans slave market. My research includes the structure of slave prices, the distribution of occupations, anthropometrics (the analysis of slave heights), family structure, and the geographic origins of slaves sold in New Orleans. Recently, I have been studying the economic history of hospital care for slaves in New Orleans.

Much of my research involves the development of large computerized data-bases from information found in original manuscript sources. I analyze these data using statistical and econometric methods and models guided by economic theory, including explicit hypothesis testing. My areas of research interest include sample selection bias, the choice of market mechanisms, the economic returns to human capital, the demographic effects of immigration, the political economy of public school finance, and racial discrimination.

Finally, I am proud of my joint research with Tulane undergraduates. See the papers with Richard Chamberlain, Jessica Hayes, Kevin Lander, and Mallorie Smith (as indicated by asterisks).

Selected Publications

New Orleans Hospitals
  • Jonathan B. Pritchett and Myeong-Su Yun, “The In-hospital Mortality Rates of Slaves and Freemen: Evidence from Touro Infirmary, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1855-1860,” Explorations in Economic History 46 (April 2009), pp. 241-252. [pdf].

  • Kevin Lander* and Jonathan Pritchett, “When to Care: The Economic Rationale of Slavery Health Care Provision,” Social Science History 33 (Summer 2009), pp. 155-182.[pdf].

  • Insan Tunali and Jonathan B. Pritchett, “Cox Regression with Alternative Concepts of Waiting Time: The New Orleans Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1853,” Journal of Applied Econometrics 12 (Jan.–Feb., 1997), pp. 1-25.[pdf].

  • Jonathan B. Pritchett and Insan Tunali, “Strangers' Disease: Determinants of Yellow Fever Mortality During the New Orleans Epidemic of 1853,” Explorations in Economic History 32 (October, 1995), pp. 517-539. [pdf].

  • Jonathan B. Pritchett and Myeong-Su Yun, “A Safety Net for Slaves? Public hospital care for slaves in New Orleans, 1855-1860,” Tulane University, pp. 1-30.
Slave Trade
  • Charles W. Calomiris and Jonathan Pritchett, "Betting on Secession: Quantifying Political Events Surrounding Slavery and the Civil War," American Economic Review, 106(1) (January 2016), pp. 1–23. Also NBER working paper 19625. [pdf]. Some press about our work: Slate, Pacific Standard and History News Network.

  • Jonathan Pritchett and Jessica Hayes,* "The Occupations of Slaves Sold in New Orleans: Missing Values, Cheap Talk, or Informative Advertising?" Cliometrica, 10(2) (March 2016). [pdf].

  • Jonathan Pritchett and Herman Freudenberger, “A Peculiar Sample: a reply to Steckel and Ziebarth,” Journal of Economic History, 76(1) (March 2016). [pdf].

  • Jonathan Pritchett and Mallorie Smith,* "Sequential sales as a test of adverse selection in the market for slaves," Journal of Economic History, 73 (June, 2013), pp. 479-499. [pdf]. On-line appendix [pdf].

  • Charles W. Calomiris and Jonathan B. Pritchett, “Preserving Slave Families for Profit: Traders’ Incentives and Pricing in the New Orleans Slave Market,” Journal of Economic History 69 (December, 2009), pp. 986-1011. Also NBER working paper 14281, pp. 1-54.[pdf].

  • Jonathan B. Pritchett, “Quantitative Estimates of the United States Interregional Slave Trade, 1820-1860,” Journal of Economic History 61 (June 2001), pp. 467-475. [pdf].

  • Jonathan B. Pritchett, “The Interregional Slave Trade and the Selection of Slaves for the New Orleans Market,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 28 (Summer, 1997), pp. 57-85. [pdf].

  • Jonathan B. Pritchett and Richard M. Chamberlain,* “Selection in the Market for Slaves: New Orleans, 1830-1860,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 108 (May, 1993), pp. 461-473.[pdf].

  • Jonathan B. Pritchett and Herman Freudenberger, “A Peculiar Sample: The Selection of Slaves for the New Orleans Market,” Journal of Economic History 52 (March, 1992), pp. 109-127. [pdf].

  • Herman Freudenberger and Jonathan B. Pritchett, “The Domestic United States Slave Trade: New Evidence,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 21 (Winter, 1991), pp. 447-477. [pdf].

  • Jonathan Pritchett and Mallorie Smith,* "An Economic Analysis of Slave Warranties: The 1830 New Orleans Slave Market." Working Paper, Tulane University (November, 2011), pp. 1-30.


Southern Public Schools
  • Jonathan B. Pritchett, “The Burden of Negro Schooling: Tax Incidence and Racial Redistribution in Postbellum North Carolina,” Journal of Economic History 49 (December, 1989), pp. 966-973. [pdf].

  • Jonathan B. Pritchett, “North Carolina's Public Schools: Growth and Local Taxation,” Social Science History 9 (Fall, 1985), pp. 277-291. [pdf].

  • Jonathan B. Pritchett, “The Term of Occupancy of Southern Farmers in the First Decades of the Twentieth Century,” Historical Methods, 20 (Summer, 1987), pp. 107-112.

Tulane University New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000