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De jure and de facto determinants of power: evidence from Mississippi

Author

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  • Graziella Bertocchi

    () (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, CEPR and IZA)

  • Arcangelo Dimico

    () (Queen’s University of Belfast)

Abstract

Abstract We evaluate the empirical effectiveness of de facto versus de jure determinants of political power in the U.S. South between the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. Using previously-unexploited racially-disaggregated data on voter registration in Mississippi for the years 1896 and 1899, we show that the observed pattern of black political participation is driven by de facto disfranchisement as captured by the presence of a black political majority, which negatively affects black registration. The de jure provisions introduced with the 1890 state constitution and involving literacy tests and poll taxes exert a non-robust impact. Furthermore, a difference-in-differences approach shows that the decline in aggregate turnout pre-dates the introduction of de jure restrictions and confirms a causal effect of the presence of a black political majority. De jure restrictions intensify the influence of the latter after 1890, which suggests that the main effect of the constitutional reforms may have been an institutionalization of de facto disfranchisement.

Suggested Citation

  • Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2017. "De jure and de facto determinants of power: evidence from Mississippi," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 321-345, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:28:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10602-017-9239-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s10602-017-9239-9
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    Cited by:

    1. Graziella Bertocchi, 2015. "Slavery, racial inequality, and education," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 122-122, February.
    2. Graziella Bertocchi, 2016. "The legacies of slavery in and out of Africa," IZA Journal of Migration, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, December.
    3. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2014. "Slavery, education, and inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 197-209.
    4. Graziella Bertocchi, 2016. "The Legacies of Slavery in and out of Africa," Department of Economics 0096, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Race; Voting; Disfranchisement; Mississippi 1890 constitution; Institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N41 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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