Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Persistence of de Facto Power: Elites and Economic Development in the US South, 1840-1960

Contents:

Author Info

  • Philipp Ager

    ()
    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Abstract

Wealthy elites may end up retarding economic development for their own interests. This paper examines how the historical planter elite of the Southern US affected economic development at the county level between 1840 and 1960. To capture the planter elite’s potential to exercise de facto power, I construct a new dataset on the personal wealth of the richest Southern planters before the American Civil War. I find that counties with a relatively wealthier planter elite before the Civil War performed significantly worse in the post-war decades and even after World War II. I argue that this is the likely consequence of the planter elite’s lack of support for mass schooling. My results suggest that when during Reconstruction the US government abolished slavery and enfranchised the freedmen, the planter elite used their de facto power to maintain their influence over the political system and preserve a plantation economy based on low-skilled labor. In fact, I find that the planter elite was better able to sustain land prices and the production of plantation crops during Reconstruction in counties where they had more de facto power.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://ehes.org/EHES_No38.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Historical Economics Society (EHES) in its series Working Papers with number 0038.

as in new window
Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0038

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.ehes.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Long-Run Economic Development; Wealth Inequality; Elites and Development; de Facto and de Jure Power; US South;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Mitchener, Kris James & McLean, Ian W, 2003. " The Productivity of US States since 1880," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 73-114, March.
  2. Raghuram G. Rajan & Rodney Ramcharan, 2009. "Land and Credit: A Study of the Political Economy of Banking in the United States in the Early 20th Century," NBER Working Papers 15083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Richard Hornbeck & Suresh Naidu, 2014. "When the Levee Breaks: Black Migration and Economic Development in the American South," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 963-90, March.
  4. Sascha O. Becker & Erik Hornung & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Education and Catch-Up in the Industrial Revolution," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 92-126, July.
  5. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2010. "Slavery, Education, and Inequality," Department of Economics 0634, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  6. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  7. Lange, Fabian & Olmstead, Alan L. & Rhode, Paul W., 2009. "The Impact of the Boll Weevil, 1892–1932," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 685-718, September.
  8. Fack, Gabrielle & Grenet, Julien, 2010. "When do better schools raise housing prices? Evidence from Paris public and private schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 59-77, February.
  9. Dube, Andrajit & Lester, T. William & Reich, Michael, 2010. "Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders: Estimates Using Contiguous Counties," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt86w5m90m, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  10. Irwin James R., 1994. "Explaining the Decline in Southern per Capita Output after Emancipation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 336-356, July.
  11. Alston, Lee J. & Ferrie, Joseph P., 1985. "Labor Costs, Paternalism, and Loyalty in Southern Agriculture: A Constraint on the Growth of the Welfare State," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(01), pages 95-117, March.
  12. 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.
  13. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 6849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The Persistence of de Facto Power: Elites and Economic Development in the US South, 1840-1960
    by Nicholas Gruen in Club Troppo on 2013-05-06 13:16:20

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0038. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Paul Sharp).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.