IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/tpr/restat/v87y2005i2p217-234.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Slavery and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital

Author

Listed:
  • Bruce Sacerdote

    (Dartmouth College and NBER)

Abstract

How much do sins visited upon one generation harm that generation's future sons, daughters, grandsons, and granddaughters? I study this question by comparing outcomes for former slaves and their children and grandchildren to outcomes for free blacks (pre-1865) and their children and grandchildren. The outcome measures include literacy, whether a child attends school, months spent in school, years of schooling, and two measures of adult occupation. Using a variety of different comparisons (for example, within versus across regions) I find that it took roughly two generations for the descendants of slaves to catch up to the descendants of free black men and women, for those outcomes that I observe. In other words, by 1920 the remaining legacy of slavery is such that all blacks are affected equally, not just the actual descendants of slaves. There is some evidence that this convergence was facilitated by intermarriage among slave and free families. The finding of convergence is consistent with modern estimates and interpretations of father-son correlations in income and socioeconomic status. The data used are from the 1880, 1900, 1920, and 1940 1% IPUMS samples, and a 100% sample of the 1880 Census. © 2005 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Sacerdote, 2005. "Slavery and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 217-234, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:87:y:2005:i:2:p:217-234
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/0034653053970230
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Amitabh Chandra, 2003. "Is the Convergence of the Racial Wage Gap Illusory?," NBER Working Papers 9476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-429, June.
    3. Bjorklund, Anders & Jantti, Markus, 1997. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in Sweden Compared to the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1009-1018, December.
    4. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst, 2003. "The Correlation of Wealth across Generations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1155-1182, December.
    5. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
    6. Thomas M. Lyons & James J. Heckman & Petra E. Todd, 2000. "Understanding Black-White Wage Differentials, 1960-1990," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 344-349, May.
    7. Smith, James P, 1984. "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 685-698, September.
    8. Robert A. Margo, 2002. "The North-South Wage Gap, Before and After the Civil War," NBER Working Papers 8778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Margo, Robert A, 1986. "Educational Achievement in Segregated School Systems: The Effects of "Separate-but-Equal."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 794-801, September.
    10. Josh Angrist, 2002. "How Do Sex Ratios Affect Marriage and Labor Markets? Evidence from America's Second Generation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 997-1038.
    11. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
    12. Joseph G. Altonji & Thomas A. Dunn, 1991. "Relationships Among the Family Incomes and Labor Market Outcomes of Relatives," NBER Working Papers 3724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. William Darity & Jason Dietrich & David K. Guilkey, 2001. "Persistent Advantage or Disadvantage?: Evidence in Support of the Intergenerational Drag Hypothesis," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 435-470, April.
    14. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-564, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Pinger, Pia R., 2016. "Transgenerational effects of childhood conditions on third generation health and education outcomes," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 103-120.
    2. Hoyt Bleakley & Joseph Ferrie, 2016. "Shocking Behavior: Random Wealth in Antebellum Georgia and Human Capital Across Generations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(3), pages 1455-1495.
    3. repec:pit:wpaper:289 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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.
    5. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2014. "Slavery, education, and inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 197-209.
    6. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2011. "The Evolution of the Racial Gap in Education and the Legacy of Slavery," IZA Discussion Papers 6192, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Mikael Lindahl & Mårten Palme & Sofia Sandgren Massih & Anna Sjögren, 2015. "Long-Term Intergenerational Persistence of Human Capital: An Empirical Analysis of Four Generations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(1), pages 1-33.
    8. Sonia Bhalotra & Thomas Pogge, 2012. "Ethical and Economic Perspectives on Global Health Interventions," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 12/286, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    9. Margo, Robert A., 2016. "Obama, Katrina, and the Persistence of Racial Inequality," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(02), pages 301-341, June.
    10. Hoyt Bleakley & Dora Costa & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2014. "Health, Education, and Income in the United States, 1820–2000," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital in History: The American Record, pages 121-159 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. 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".
    12. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:1032-1053 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Suresh Naidu, 2012. "Suffrage, Schooling, and Sorting in the Post-Bellum U.S. South," NBER Working Papers 18129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. William J. Collins & Marianne H. Wanamaker, 2017. "Up from Slavery? African American Intergenerational Economic Mobility Since 1880," NBER Working Papers 23395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Ilyana Kuziemko, 2011. "Human Capital Spillovers in Families: Do Parents Learn from or Lean on their Children?," NBER Working Papers 17235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Leah Platt Boustan & William J. Collins, 2014. "The Origin and Persistence of Black-White Differences in Women's Labor Force Participation," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital in History: The American Record, pages 205-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Soares, Rodrigo R. & Assunção, Juliano J. & Goulart, Tomás F., 2012. "A note on slavery and the roots of inequality," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 565-580.
    18. Logan, Trevon D., 2009. "Health, human capital, and African-American migration before 1910," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 169-185, April.
    19. Daniel Aaronson & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2005. "Intergenerational economic mobility in the U.S., 1940 to 2000," Working Paper Series WP-05-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    20. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2012. "The racial gap in education and the legacy of slavery," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 581-595.
    21. Ham, Roger & Junankar, Pramod N. (Raja) & Wells, Robert, 2009. "Occupational Choice: Personality Matters," IZA Discussion Papers 4105, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    22. Price, Gregory N. & Darity Jr., William A. & Headen Jr., Alvin E., 2008. "Does the stigma of slavery explain the maltreatment of blacks by whites: The case of lynchings," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 167-193, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • N0 - Economic History - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:87:y:2005:i:2:p:217-234. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kristin Waites). General contact details of provider: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.