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Slavery, Education, and Inequality

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  • Bertocchi, Graziella
  • Dimico, Arcangelo

Abstract

We investigate the impact of slavery on the current performances of the US economy. Over a cross section of counties, we find that the legacy of slavery does not affect current income per capita, but does affect current income inequality. In other words, those counties that displayed a higher proportion of slaves are currently not poorer, but more unequal. Moreover, we find that the impact of slavery on current income inequality is determined by racial inequality. We test three alternative channels of transmission between slavery and inequality: a land inequality theory, a racial discrimination theory and a human capital theory. We find support for the third theory, i. e., even after controlling for potential endogeneity, current inequality is primarily influenced by slavery through the unequal educational attainment of blacks and whites. To improve our understanding of the dynamics of racial inequality along the educational dimension, we complete our investigation by analyzing a panel dataset covering the 1940-2000 period at the state level. Consistently with our previous findings, we find that the educational racial gap significantly depends on the initial gap, which was indeed larger in the former slave states.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8073.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8073

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Keywords: development; education; inequality; institutions; slavery;

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References

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  1. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-64, June.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal Of Fortune: Geography And Institutions In The Making Of The Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
  3. repec:bla:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:1:p:143-179 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Alan B. Krueger & Mikael Lindahl, 2000. "Education for Growth: Why and For Whom?," NBER Working Papers 7591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Summerhill, William, 2010. "Colonial Institutions, Slavery, Inequality, and Development: Evidence from São Paulo, Brazil," MPRA Paper 22162, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," MPRA Paper 4134, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Collins, William J. & Margo, Robert A., 2006. "Historical Perspectives on Racial Differences in Schooling in the United States," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  8. Michael Lokshin & Zurab Sajaia, 2006. "EGEN_INEQUAL: Stata module providing extensions to generate inequality and poverty measures," Statistical Software Components S456711, Boston College Department of Economics.
  9. Robert A. Margo, 1990. "Race and Schooling in the South, 1880-1950: An Economic History," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number marg90-1.
  10. Nils-Petter Lagerl�f, 2009. "Slavery and Other Property Rights -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 319-342.
  11. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer & Vollrath, Dietrich, 2008. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions and the Great Divergence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6751, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Kenneth L. Sokoloff & Stanley L. Engerman, 2000. "Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 217-232, Summer.
  13. Kris James Mitchener & Ian W. McLean, 2001. "The Productivity of U.S. States Since 1880," School of Economics Working Papers 2001-08, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  14. Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "Slavery and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 9227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Rappaport, Jordan & Sachs, Jeffrey D, 2003. " The United States as a Coastal Nation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 5-46, March.
  16. Smith, James P, 1984. "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 685-98, September.
  17. Rodney Ramcharan, 2010. "Inequality and Redistribution: Evidence from U.S. Counties and States, 1890-1930," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 729-744, November.
  18. Heckman, James J, 1990. "The Central Role of the South in Accounting for the Economic Progress of Black Americans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 242-46, May.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. On the consequences of slavery
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-11-30 15:31:00
  2. Creations of history
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-02-01 15:34:53
  3. The Legacy of Slavery
    by Ariel Goldring in Free Market Mojo on 2010-11-09 14:00:22
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Álvarez, Jorge & Bilancini, Ennio & D'Alessandro, Simone & Porcile, Gabriel, 2011. "Agricultural institutions, industrialization and growth: The case of New Zealand and Uruguay in 1870-1940," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 151-168, April.
  2. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2012. "De Jure and de Facto Determinants of Power:Evidence from Mississippi," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 084, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
  3. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2011. "Growth, Colonization, and Institutional Development: In and Out of Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 5856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2011. "Race v. Suffrage: The Determinants of Development in Mississippi," CEPR Discussion Papers 8589, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2011. "The Evolution of the Racial Gap in Education and the Legacy of Slavery," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 075, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
  6. Philipp Ager, 2013. "The Persistence of de Facto Power: Elites and Economic Development in the US South, 1840-1960," Working Papers 0038, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  7. repec:mod:depeco:0001 is not listed on IDEAS

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