Presentation at the 2018 World Economic History Congress

Today we presented the paper ‘Maritime careers in the Dutch Republic: some preliminary findings’ at the 2018 World Economic History Congress (WEHC) in Boston MA. It was great to show our findings to an international audience at the session ‘Factor Costs in the Expansion of Pre-Modern Ocean Shipping: Labor, Capital, and Knowledge Transfer, 1300-1700’, organized by Maryanne Kowaleski (Fordham University).

Good career opportunities for migrant sailors

Based on quantitative analysis of our Dutch East India Company’s sailors’ careers database, we argued that the tightening native labor supply in the 18th-century Dutch Republic necessitated an influx of skilled migrant workers, and that these migrant workers were given equal opportunities compared to natives. Indeed, as shown by the graph on slide 16 (see presentation below), from the mid-18th-century, migrant workers gained (proportionally) more promotions to an officer’s rank than their Dutch counterparts.

Here are the slides we showed at the conference. Unfortunately, the animated map images on slides 6 – 8 have been rendered static when converted to SlideShare; the proper, dynamic images can be found in this blog post.

Slides shown at 2018 WEHC

How do we reconstruct sailors’ careers?

We published a paper on our methodology of reconstructing sailors’ careers in the HUMIGEC project. It’s called ‘Small Lives, Big Meanings. Expanding the Scope of Biographical Data through Entity Linkage and Disambiguation’ and was co-authored by Lodewijk Petram, Jelle van Lottum, Rutger van Koert, and Sebastiaan Derks.

The paper was originally presented at the 2017 edition of the Biographical Data in a Digital World conference, held in Linz, Austria. The maritime dataset and career reconstruction methodology serve as a use case to introduce the Huygens ING digital biographical data policy.