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The Economics of US Civil War Conscription

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  • Timothy J. Perri

Abstract

The US government had limited power during the Civil War, including an inability to tax income. Similar to conscription plans considered in the War of 1812, Civil War conscription was not intended to compel service, but was a second-best plan to shift the tax burden to state and local governments. The time allowed communities to provide volunteers after a federal call for enlistments, along with substitution and the payment of a fee to avoid service (commutation), meant few were actually drafted---about 2% of all who served. Commutation could have lowered social cost, but appears to have been a binding ceiling on the price of a substitute.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy J. Perri, 2006. "The Economics of US Civil War Conscription," Working Papers 06-07, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:06-07
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Trudy Ann Cameron, 1991. "Interval Estimates of Non-Market Resource Values from Referendum Contingent Valuation Surveys," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(4), pages 413-421.
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    4. Ganderton, Philip T. & Brookshire, David S. & McKee, Michael & Stewart, Steve & Thurston, Hale, 2000. "Buying Insurance for Disaster-Type Risks: Experimental Evidence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 271-289, May.
    5. McClelland, Gary H & Schulze, William D & Coursey, Don L, 1993. "Insurance for Low-Probability Hazards: A Bimodal Response to Unlikely Events," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 95-116, August.
    6. John C. Whitehead, 2000. "“One Million Dollars a Mile? The Opportunity Costs of Hurricane Evacuation,”," Working Papers 0005, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy J. Perri, 2010. "The Draft and the Quality of Military Personnel," Working Papers 10-05, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N41 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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