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Slavery, Education, and Inequality

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  • Graziella Bertocchi

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  • Arcangelo Dimico

    ()

Abstract

We investigate the impact of slavery on the current performances of the US economy. Over a cross section of counties, we find that the legacy of slavery does not affect current income per capita, but does affect current income inequality. In other words, those counties that displayed a higher proportion of slaves are currently not poorer, but more unequal. Moreover, we find that the impact of slavery on current income inequality is determined by racial inequality. We test three alternative channels of transmission between slavery and inequality: a land inequality theory, a racial discrimination theory and a human capital theory. We find support for the third theory, i. e., even after controlling for potential endogeneity, current inequality is primarily influenced by slavery through the unequal educational attainment of blacks and whites. To improve our understanding of the dynamics of racial inequality along the educational dimension, we complete our investigation by analyzing a panel dataset covering the 1940-2000 period at the state level. Consistently with our previous findings, we find that the educational racial gap significantly depends on the initial gap, which was indeed larger in the former slave states.

Suggested Citation

  • Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2010. "Slavery, Education, and Inequality," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 051, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  • Handle: RePEc:mod:recent:051
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. On the consequences of slavery
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-11-30 21:31:00
    2. Creations of history
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-02-01 21:34:53
    3. The Legacy of Slavery
      by Ariel Goldring in Free Market Mojo on 2010-11-09 20:00:22

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mario Chacon & Jeffrey Jensen, 2017. "The Institutional Determinants of Southern Secession," Working Papers 20170001, New York University Abu Dhabi, Department of Social Science, revised Mar 2017.
    2. Graziella Bertocchi, 2011. "Growth, Colonization, and Institutional Development. In and Out of Africa," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 064, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    3. Graziella Bertocchi, 2015. "Slavery, racial inequality, and education," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 122-122, February.
    4. Graziella Bertocchi, 2016. "The legacies of slavery in and out of Africa," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, December.
    5. Álvarez, Jorge & Bilancini, Ennio & D'Alessandro, Simone & Porcile, Gabriel, 2011. "Agricultural institutions, industrialization and growth: The case of New Zealand and Uruguay in 1870-1940," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 151-168, April.
    6. Quamrul H. Ashraf & Francesco Cinnirella & Oded Galor & Boris Gershman & Erik Hornung, 2017. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and the Emergence of Labor Emancipation," CESifo Working Paper Series 6423, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2017. "De jure and de facto determinants of power: evidence from Mississippi," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 321-345, December.
    8. 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).
    9. 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.
    10. Esposito, Elena, 2015. "Side Effects of Immunities: the African Slave Trade," Economics Working Papers MWP2015/09, European University Institute.
    11. repec:nbr:nberch:14011 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:spr:demogr:v:55:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s13524-018-0693-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Philipp Ager, 2013. "The Persistence of de Facto Power: Elites and Economic Development in the US South, 1840-1960," Working Papers 0038, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    14. Andrei Markevich & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2018. "The Economic Effects of the Abolition of Serfdom: Evidence from the Russian Empire," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(4-5), pages 1074-1117, April.
    15. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2011. "Race v. Suffrage. The Determinants of Development in Mississippi," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 071, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    16. 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".
    17. repec:mod:depeco:0001 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Slavery; development; inequality; institutions; education;

    JEL classification:

    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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