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Fatherless: The Long-Term Effects of Losing a Father in the U.S. Civil War

Author

Listed:
  • Dupraz, Yannick

    (University College Dublin and CAGE)

  • Ferrara, Andreas

    (University of Pittsburgh and CAGE)

Abstract

We estimate the causal effect of losing a father in the U.S. Civil War on children’s long-run socioeconomic outcomes. Linking military records from the 2.2 million Union Army soldiers with the 1860 U.S. population Census, we track soldiers’ sons into the 1880 and 1900 Census. Sons of soldiers who died had a lower occupational income score and were less likely to have a high- or semi-skilled job as opposed to being low-skilled or farmers. These effects persisted at least until the 1900 census. Our results are robust to instrumenting paternal death with the mortality rate of the father’s regiment, which we argue was driven by military strategy that did not take into account the social origins of soldiers. Pre-war family wealth is a strong mitigating factor- there is no effect of losing a father in the top quartile of the wealth distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Dupraz, Yannick & Ferrara, Andreas, 2021. "Fatherless: The Long-Term Effects of Losing a Father in the U.S. Civil War," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 538, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:538
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    Cited by:

    1. Petri Bockerman & Mika Haapanen & Christopher Jepsen, 2021. "Dark Passage: Mental Health Consequences of Parental Death," Working Papers 202107, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    2. Zachary Ward, 2023. "Intergenerational Mobility in American History: Accounting for Race and Measurement Error," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 113(12), pages 3213-3248, December.

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    Keywords

    U.S. CIVIL WAR; ORPHANS; INTERGENERATIONAL MOBILITY JEL Classification: N11; J13; J62;
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