Deserters, Social Norms, and Migration
Fourteen percent of Union Army soldiers were deserters. Were these men, who were known in their home communities to have failed cause and comrades, reintegrated into their communities? We construct a rich micropanel data set of U.S. Civil War soldiers from pro-war and anti-war communities to present new evidence on how community social norms shape soldiersâ€™ postwar experiences. Relative to control groups, deserters were more likely to leave home, particularly if they were from pro-war communities, to move to anti-war communities and to reinvent themselves by changing their names.
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