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Cowards and Heroes: Group Loyalty in the American Civil War

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  • Dora L. Costa
  • Matthew E. Kahn

Abstract

What motivated men to risk death in the most horrific war in U.S. history when pay was low and irregular and military punishment strategies were weak? In such a situation creating group loyalty by promoting social capital is of paramount importance and in the Civil War was the cement of both armies. We find that individual and company socio-economic and demographic characteristics, ideology, and morale were important predictors of group loyalty in the Union Army. Company characteristics were more important than ideology or morale. Soldiers in companies that were more homogeneous in ethnicity, occupation, and age were less likely to shirk.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8627.

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Date of creation: Dec 2001
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Publication status: published as Costa, Dora L. and Matthew E. Kahn. "Cowards And Heroes: Group Loyalty In The American Civil War," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2003, v118(2,May), 519-548.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8627

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The Law of Demand: The Case of Egypt's Nascent Revolution
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2011-01-29 14:48:00
  2. Loyalty
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2012-08-23 01:00:00
  3. Desertion
    by Matthew E. Kahn in The Reality-Based Community on 2013-07-22 15:46:11
  4. Within NBA Team Income Inequality and Player Performance
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2014-06-16 10:49:00
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