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De Jure and de Facto Determinants of Power: Evidence from Mississippi

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  • Bertocchi, Graziella
  • Dimico, Arcangelo

Abstract

We evaluate the empirical relevance of de facto vs. de jure determinants of political power in the U.S. South between the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. We apply a variety of estimation techniques to a previously unexploited dataset on voter registration by race covering the counties of Mississippi in 1896, shortly after the introduction of the 1890 voting restrictions encoded in the state constitution. Our results indicate that de jure voting restrictions reduce black registration but that black disfranchisement starts well before 1890 and is more intense where a black majority represents a threat to the de facto power of white elites. Moreover, the effect of race becomes stronger after 1890 suggesting that the de jure barriers may have served the purpose of institutionalizing a de facto condition of disfranchisement.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9064.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9064

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Keywords: education; inequality; institutions; race; voting;

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  1. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2010. "Slavery, Education, and Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 8073, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2011. "Race v. Suffrage. The Determinants of Development in Mississippi," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 071, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
  3. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson & Daniel M. Sturm, 2010. "Political Competition, Policy and Growth: Theory and Evidence from the United States," CEP Discussion Papers dp1009, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Filer, John E & Kenny, Lawrence W & Morton, Rebecca B, 1991. "Voting Laws, Educational Policies, and Minority Turnout," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 371-93, October.
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  16. Pritchett, Jonathan B., 1989. "The Burden of Negro Schooling: Tax Incidence and Racial Redistribution in Postbellum North Carolina," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 966-973, December.
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  20. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2012. "The racial gap in education and the legacy of slavery," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 581-595.
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