Was the African American great migration delayed by outlawing emigrant agents?
AbstractThe question of why more African Americans did not migrate earlier out of the stagnant and repressive South after emancipation remains open. Previous work has highlighted the role of demand and supply conditions. At the time, though there was much concern about the role of emigrant agents who actively recruited African Americans to migrate away from their homes such that several states introduced emigrant agent laws to effectively drive them out of business. In this paper we provide the first estimates of the quantitative significance of these agents to African American migration. Specifically, we take advantage of a natural experiment provided by different outcomes in court cases in Georgia and Alabama, which resulted in Alabama being prevented from re-introducing these laws between 1882 and 1903 while Georgia's laws remained. Analyzing gross migration out of the two states, we find that the emigrant agent laws had no direct effect on migration. Though there is some limited evidence that the sensitivity of migration flows to economic differences within the South was lower if an emigrant agent law was in place. This suggests that small changes to the emigrant agentlaws are unlikely to have led to an earlier Great Migration. Interestingly we also find that the increase in migration began before 1920 which provides some support for the supply-based explanations.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by School of Economics, La Trobe University in its series Working Papers with number 2013.06.
Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Great Migration; Emigrant Agents; Gravity Models; African Americans; Southern Labor Markets; Labor Market Regulation.;
Other versions of this item:
- Kha Yen Prentice & Laszlo Konya & David Prentice, 2013. "Was the African American great migration delayed by outlawing emigrant agents?," CEH Discussion Papers 018, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
- N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- N41 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- N91 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
- K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
- J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
- R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AFR-2013-09-06 (Africa)
- NEP-ALL-2013-09-06 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2013-09-06 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-MIG-2013-09-06 (Economics of Human Migration)
- NEP-URE-2013-09-06 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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.:
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