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New Deal or No Deal in the Cotton South: The Effect of the AAA on the Agriculture Labor Structure

In: The Microeconomics of New Deal Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Briggs Depew
  • Price Fishback
  • Paul Rhode

Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • Briggs Depew & Price Fishback & Paul Rhode, 2012. "New Deal or No Deal in the Cotton South: The Effect of the AAA on the Agriculture Labor Structure," NBER Chapters,in: The Microeconomics of New Deal Policy National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:13205
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Fishback, Price V., 1989. "Debt peonage in postbellum Georgia," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 219-236, April.
    3. Gordon Dahl, 2010. "Early teen marriage and future poverty," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 47(3), pages 689-718, August.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Alston, Lee J. & Ferrie, Joseph P., 2005. "Time on the Ladder: Career Mobility in Agriculture, 1890 1938," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(04), pages 1058-1081, December.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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, April.
    10. Alston, Lee J., 1981. "Tenure choice in Southern agriculture, 1930-1960," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 211-232, July.
    11. 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.
    12. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-1160, September.
    13. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Price Fishback, 2017. "How Successful Was the New Deal? The Microeconomic Impact of New Deal Spending and Lending Policies in the 1930s," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1435-1485, December.
    2. Richard Hornbeck & Suresh Naidu, 2014. "When the Levee Breaks: Black Migration and Economic Development in the American South," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 963-990, March.
    3. Kantor, Shawn & Fishback, Price V. & Wallis, John Joseph, 2013. "Did the New Deal solidify the 1932 Democratic realignment?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 620-633.
    4. Karen Clay & Ethan Schmick & Werner Troesken, 2017. "The Rise and Fall of Pellagra in the American South," NBER Working Papers 23730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Price V. Fishback & John Joseph Wallis, 2012. "What Was New About the New Deal?," NBER Working Papers 18271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Kitchens, Carl, 2013. "The effects of the Works Progress Administration's anti-malaria programs in Georgia 1932–1947," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 567-581.
    7. Paul Rhode & Johannes Wieland & Joshua Hausman, 2017. "Recovery from the Great Depression: The Farm Channel in Spring 1933," 2017 Meeting Papers 772, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Bailey, Martha J. & Duquette, Nicolas J., 2014. "How Johnson Fought the War on Poverty: The Economics and Politics of Funding at the Office of Economic Opportunity," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(02), pages 351-388, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J43 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Agricultural Labor Markets
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N52 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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