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De Facto Power, Democracy, and Taxation: Evidence from Military Occupation during Reconstruction

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  • Mario Chacon
  • Jeffrey Jensen

    (Division of Social Science)

Abstract

The extension of the franchise to former slaves in the post-Civil War American South provides a unique case to study the fiscal consequences of democratization. Black suffrage was not determined internally but was a consequence of military defeat and externally enforced by the U.S. Army during Reconstruction. We employ a triple-difference model to estimate the joint impact of enfranchisement and federal enforcement on taxation. We find that occupied counties where black voters comprised larger shares of the electorate levied higher taxes compared to similar non-occupied counties. These counties then experienced a comparatively greater decline in scal revenues in the decades following the end of Reconstruction. We also demonstrate that in these occupied counties, black politicians were more likely to be elected, and political murders by white supremacist groups were less likely. These fi ndings provide evidence on the key role of federal troops in limiting political capture by Southern elites.

Suggested Citation

  • Mario Chacon & Jeffrey Jensen, 2018. "De Facto Power, Democracy, and Taxation: Evidence from Military Occupation during Reconstruction," Working Papers 20180016, New York University Abu Dhabi, Department of Social Science, revised Jan 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:nad:wpaper:20180016
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    File URL: https://nyuad.nyu.edu/content/dam/nyuad/academics/divisions/social-science/working-papers/2018/0016.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2018
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Acharya, Avidit & Blackwell, Matthew & Sen, Maya, 2014. "The Political Legacy of American Slavery," Working Paper Series rwp14-057, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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    4. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422, October.
    5. Brandon Dupont & Joshua Rosenbloom, 2016. "The Impact of the Civil War on Southern Wealth Holders," NBER Working Papers 22184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Einhorn, Robin L., 2006. "American Taxation, American Slavery," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226194875, Febrero.
    7. repec:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2013:i:1:p:379-433 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Scheve, Kenneth & Stasavage, David, 2010. "The Conscription of Wealth: Mass Warfare and the Demand for Progressive Taxation," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 529-561, October.
    9. Adam Bonica & Nolan McCarty & Keith T. Poole & Howard Rosenthal, 2013. "Why Hasn't Democracy Slowed Rising Inequality?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 103-124, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. James J. Feigenbaum & Soumyajit Mazumder & Cory B. Smith, 2020. "When Coercive Economies Fail: The Political Economy of the US South After the Boll Weevil," NBER Working Papers 27161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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