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Health, human capital, and African-American migration before 1910

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  • Logan, Trevon D.

Abstract

Using both IPUMS and the Colored Troops Sample of the Civil War Union Army Data, I estimate the effects of literacy and health on the migration propensities of African-Americans from 1870 to 1910. I find that literacy and health shocks were strong predictors of migration and the stock of health was not. There were differential selection propensities based on slave status--former slaves were less likely to migrate given a specific health shock than free blacks. Counterfactuals suggest that as much as 35% of the difference in the mobility patterns of former slaves and free blacks is explained by differences in their human capital, and more than 20% of that difference is due to health alone. Overall, the selection effect of literacy on migration is reduced by one-tenth to one-third once health is controlled for. The low levels of human capital accumulation and rates of mobility for African-Americans after the Civil War are partly explained by the poor health status of slaves and their immediate descendants.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 46 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 169-185

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:46:y:2009:i:2:p:169-185

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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Keywords: Health Migration Civil war African-Americans;

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  1. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
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  5. Higgs, Robert, 1982. "Accumulation of Property by Southern Blacks before World War I," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 725-37, September.
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  7. Steckel, Richard H., 1986. "A Peculiar Population: The Nutrition, Health, and Mortality of American Slaves from Childhood to Maturity," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(03), pages 721-741, September.
  8. Richard H. Steckel, 2004. "Fluctuations in a Dreadful Childhood: Synthetic Longitudinal Height Data, Relative Prices and Weather in the Short-Term Health of American Slaves," NBER Working Papers 10993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Steckel, Richard H., 1986. "Birth weights and infant mortality among American slaves," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 173-198, April.
  10. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "The Pursuit of Opportunity: Explaining Selective Black Migration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 391-417, May.
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  12. Dora L. Costa, 2004. "Race and Older Age Mortality: Evidence from Union Army Veterans," NBER Working Papers 10902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Costa, Dora L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2006. "Forging a New Identity: The Costs and Benefits of Diversity in Civil War Combat Units for Black Slaves and Freemen," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(04), pages 936-962, December.
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  17. repec:cup:jechis:v:57:y:1997:i:03:p:607-632_01 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Robert A. Margo, 1988. "Schooling and the Great Migration," NBER Working Papers 2697, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  22. Schwartz, Aba, 1973. "Interpreting the Effect of Distance on Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(5), pages 1153-69, Sept.-Oct.
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Cited by:
  1. William J. Collins & Marianne H. Wanamaker, 2013. "Selection and Economic Gains in the Great Migration of African Americans: New Evidence from Linked Census Data," NBER Working Papers 19124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.

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