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New deal or no deal in the Cotton South: The effect of the AAA on the agricultural labor structure

  • Depew, Briggs
  • Fishback, Price V.
  • Rhode, Paul W.

The Agricultural Adjustment Act has often been held responsible for the rapid reduction of share tenants and sharecroppers (laborers paid shares of the crop) during the 1930s. However, this conclusion has come with limited empirical backing. We shed new light on the consequences of this New Deal policy by empirically testing the role that the AAA cotton reduction program had on the displacement of share tenants and sharecroppers in the Cotton South. The results suggest that the AAA played a significant role in the displacement of black and white sharecroppers and black managing tenants even though it was a violation of AAA contracts for landlords to displace these workers.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 50 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 466-486

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:50:y:2013:i:4:p:466-486
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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  1. Ransom, Roger & Sutch, Richard, 1979. "Credit merchandising in the post-emancipation south: Structure, conduct, and performance," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 64-89, January.
  2. Fishback, Price V. & Horrace, William C. & Kantor, Shawn, 2006. "The impact of New Deal expenditures on mobility during the Great Depression," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 179-222, April.
  3. Whatley, Warren C., 1983. "Labor for the Picking: the New Deal in the South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(04), pages 905-929, December.
  4. Fishback, Price V. & Horrace, William C. & Kantor, Shawn, 2005. "Did New Deal Grant Programs Stimulate Local Economies? A Study of Federal Grants and Retail Sales During the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(01), pages 36-71, March.
  5. Suresh Naidu, 2010. "Recruitment Restrictions and Labor Markets: Evidence from the Postbellum U.S. South," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 413-445, 04.
  6. Lee J. Alston & Joseph P. Ferrie, 2005. "Time on the Ladder: Career Mobility in Agriculture, 1890-1938," NBER Working Papers 11231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Gordon B. Dahl, 2005. "Early Teen Marriage and Future Poverty," NBER Working Papers 11328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alston, Lee J. & Higgs, Robert, 1982. "Contractual Mix in Southern Agriculture since the Civil War: Facts, Hypotheses, and Tests," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(02), pages 327-353, June.
  9. Alston, Lee J., 1981. "Tenure choice in Southern agriculture, 1930-1960," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 211-232, July.
  10. Reid, Joseph D., 1973. "Sharecropping As An Understandable Market Response: The Post-Bellum South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(01), pages 106-130, March.
  11. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
  12. Fishback, Price V., 1989. "Debt peonage in postbellum Georgia," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 219-236, April.
  13. 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 852-76, September.
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