Land and Racial Wealth Inequality
Could racial wealth inequality have been reduced if freed slaves had been granted land following the Civil War? This paper exploits a plausibly exogenous variation in policies of the Cherokee Nation and southern United States to identify the impact of free land on the size of the racial wealth gap. Using data on land, livestock, and home ownership, I find evidence that former slaves who had access to free land were absolutely wealthier and experienced lower levels of racial wealth inequality in 1880 than former slaves who did not. Furthermore, their children continued to experience these advantages in 1900.
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Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
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