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Accumulation of Property by Southern Blacks Before World War I: Commentand Further Evidence

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  • Robert A. Margo

Abstract

The pace and pattern of wealth accumulation by Southern blacks in the period before World War I is of central importance to the historical evolution of black/white income differences. This paper extends recent work by Robert Higgs, who used data on assessed wealth for Georgia to study the temporal and cross-sectional variation in black wealth accumulation during the post-bellum era. Using similar data for five additional states, I show that one of Higgs' principal conclusions -- measured by tax assessments, blacks accumulated wealth more rapidly than whites -- is a general finding, but that the cross-sectional determinants of black wealth appear to have varied markedly across states. Issues of assessment ratio bias are also considered, and using data for one state, I demonstrate that failure to account for intrastate and race differences in assessment ratios may bias the cross-sectional findings and significantly overstate the true relative (black/white) growth rate of black wealth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1200.

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Date of creation: Sep 1983
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Publication status: published as Margo, Robert A. "Accumulation of Property by Southern Blacks Before World War I: Comment and Further Evidence," American Economic Review, Vol. 74, No. 4, 1984, pp. 768-776.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1200

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Cited by:
  1. Collins, William J. & Margo, Robert A., 2001. "Race and Home Ownership: A Century-Long View," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 68-92, January.
  2. Logan, Trevon D., 2009. "Health, human capital, and African-American migration before 1910," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 169-185, April.
  3. Canaday, Neil, 2008. "The accumulation of property by southern blacks and whites: Individual-level evidence from a South Carolina cotton county, 1910-1919," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 51-75, January.
  4. Robert A. Margo, 1988. "Schooling and the Great Migration," NBER Working Papers 2697, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 2000. "Race and the Value of Owner-Occupied Housing, 1940-1990," Macroeconomics 0004057, EconWPA.
  6. Robert A. Margo, 2004. "Ideology, Government, and the American Dilemma," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0411, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics, revised May 2004.
  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. William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 1999. "Race and Home Ownership, 1900 to 1990," NBER Working Papers 7277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Dora L. Costa, 2008. "The Rise of Retirement Among African Americans: Wealth and Social Security Effects," NBER Working Papers 14462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 2001. "Race and Home Ownership in Twentieth Century America: The Role of Sample Composition," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0110, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.

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