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Forging a New Identity: The Costs and Benefits of Diversity in Civil War Combat Units for Black Slaves and Freemen

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  • Costa, Dora L.
  • Kahn, Matthew E.

Abstract

By the end of the Civil War 186,017 black men had served in the Union Army, roughly three-quarters of whom were former slaves. Because most black soldiers were illiterate farm workers, the war exposed them to a much broader world. Their wartime experience depended upon their peers, their commanding officers, and where their regiment toured and affected their later life outcomes. In the short run the combat units benefited from company homogeneity, which built social capital and minimized shirking, but in the long run men s human capital and acquisition of information was best improved by serving in heterogeneous companies.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 66 (2006)
Issue (Month): 04 (December)
Pages: 936-962

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:66:y:2006:i:04:p:936-962_00

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Should Your Freshman College Roommate Be Your Clone?
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2010-08-23 00:51:00
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Cited by:
  1. Green, Tiffany L. & Hamilton, Tod G., 2013. "Beyond black and white: Color and mortality in post-reconstruction era North Carolina," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 148-159.
  2. Trevon D. Logan, 2008. "Health, Human Capital, and African American Migration Before 1910," NBER Working Papers 14037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Franklin G. Mixon & Rand W. Ressler & Richard J. Cebula, 2012. "Beyond the Friday night lights: Social networks, migration, and individual success in college football," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(1), pages 16-26.
  4. Lee, Chulhee, 2007. "Military positions and post-service occupational mobility of Union Army veterans, 1861-1880," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 680-698, October.

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