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Paternalism in Agricultural Labor Contracts in the U.S. South: Implications for the Growth of the Welfare State

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  • Alston, Lee J
  • Ferrie, Joseph P

Abstract

The authors examine paternalism as an implicit contract in which workers trade faithful service for nonmarket goods. Paternalism reduced monitoring and turnover costs in cotton cultivation in the U.S. South until the mechanization of the cotton harvest in the 1950s. Until then, the effectiveness of paternalism was threatened by government programs that could have substituted for paternalism; but large Southern landowners had the political power to prevent the appearance of such programs in the South. With mechanization, the economic incentive to provide paternalism disappeared and Southern congressmen allowed welfare programs to expand in ways consistent with their interests. Copyright 1993 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Alston, Lee J & Ferrie, Joseph P, 1993. "Paternalism in Agricultural Labor Contracts in the U.S. South: Implications for the Growth of the Welfare State," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 852-876, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:83:y:1993:i:4:p:852-76
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    Cited by:

    1. Jaworski, Taylor, 2009. "War and wealth: economic opportunity before and after the Civil War, 1850-1870," Economic History Working Papers 22303, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    2. Virts, Nancy, 2006. "Change in the plantation system: American South, 1910-1945," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 153-176, January.
    3. Acemoglu, Daron & García-Jimeno, Camilo & Robinson, James A., 2012. "Finding Eldorado: Slavery and long-run development in Colombia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 534-564.
    4. Eggertsson, Thrainn, 1998. "Sources of Risk, Institutions for Survival, and a Game against Nature in Premodern Iceland," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 1-30, January.
    5. Guido Friebel & Sergei Guriev, 1999. "Why Russian Workers Do Not Move: Attachment of Workers Through In-Kind Payments," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 283, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    6. Art Carden, 2009. "Inputs and institutions as conservative elements," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 22(1), pages 1-19, March.
    7. Depew, Briggs & Fishback, Price V. & Rhode, Paul W., 2013. "New deal or no deal in the Cotton South: The effect of the AAA on the agricultural labor structure," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 466-486.
    8. Lee J. Alston & Edwyna Harris & Bernardo Mueller, 2009. "De Facto and De Jure Property Rights: Land Settlement and Land Conflict on the Australian, Brazilian and U.S. Frontiers," CEPR Discussion Papers 607, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    9. Francisco M. Gonzalez & Jean‐François Wen, 2015. "A Theory of Top Income Taxation and Social Insurance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(587), pages 1474-1500, September.
    10. Werner Troesken & Randall Walsh, 2017. "Collective Action, White Flight, and the Origins of Formal Segregation Laws," NBER Working Papers 23691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Frye, Timothy & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2000. "Rackets, Regulation, and the Rule of Law," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 478-502, October.
    12. White, Eugene N., 1996. "The past and future of economic history in economics," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(Supplemen), pages 61-72.
    13. Ellen Mutari & Marilyn Power & Deborah Figart, 2002. "Neither Mothers Nor Breadwinners: African-American Women's Exclusion From US Minimum Wage Policies, 1912-1938," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 37-61.
    14. John Joseph Wallis, 1996. "What Determines the Allocation of National Government Grants to the States?," NBER Historical Working Papers 0090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Raghuram G. Rajan & Rodney Ramcharan, 2016. "Constituencies and Legislation: The Fight Over the McFadden Act of 1927," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(7), pages 1843-1859, July.
    16. Guido Friebel & Sergei Guriev, 2000. "Should I Stay or Can I Go? Worker Attachment in Russia," Working Papers w0008, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    17. repec:eee:deveco:v:129:y:2017:i:c:p:29-46 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Ilyana Kuziemko & Ebonya Washington, 2015. "Why did the Democrats Lose the South? Bringing New Data to an Old Debate," NBER Working Papers 21703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Joanna Alexopoulos & Tiago V. Cavalcanti, 2010. "Cheap home goods and persistent inequality," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 45(3), pages 417-451, December.
    20. Gonzalez, M. & Wen, W., 2007. "The Supply of Social Insurance," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0772, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    21. Bernardo Mueller & Lee Alston & Edwyna Harris, 2011. "De Facto And De Jure Property Rights:Land Settlement And Land Conflict On The Brazilian Frontier In The 19thcentury," Anais do XXXVIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 38th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 060, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

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