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Accumulation of Property by Southern Blacks Before World War I: Commentand Further Evidence

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  • Robert A. Margo

Abstract

The pace and pattern of wealth accumulation by Southern blacks in the period before World War I is of central importance to the historical evolution of black/white income differences. This paper extends recent work by Robert Higgs, who used data on assessed wealth for Georgia to study the temporal and cross-sectional variation in black wealth accumulation during the post-bellum era. Using similar data for five additional states, I show that one of Higgs' principal conclusions -- measured by tax assessments, blacks accumulated wealth more rapidly than whites -- is a general finding, but that the cross-sectional determinants of black wealth appear to have varied markedly across states. Issues of assessment ratio bias are also considered, and using data for one state, I demonstrate that failure to account for intrastate and race differences in assessment ratios may bias the cross-sectional findings and significantly overstate the true relative (black/white) growth rate of black wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert A. Margo, 1983. "Accumulation of Property by Southern Blacks Before World War I: Commentand Further Evidence," NBER Working Papers 1200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1200
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert A. Margo, 1988. "Schooling and the Great Migration," NBER Working Papers 2697, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Canaday, Neil, 2008. "The accumulation of property by southern blacks and whites: Individual-level evidence from a South Carolina cotton county, 1910-1919," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 51-75, January.
    3. Robert A. Margo, 2004. "Ideology, Government, and the American Dilemma," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0411, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics, revised May 2004.
    4. Collins, William J. & Wanamaker, Marianne H., 2015. "The Great Migration in Black and White: New Evidence on the Selection and Sorting of Southern Migrants," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 75(04), pages 947-992, December.
    5. Collins, William J. & Margo, Robert A., 2006. "Historical Perspectives on Racial Differences in Schooling in the United States," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    6. Collins, William J. & Margo, Robert A., 2003. "Race and the value of owner-occupied housing, 1940-1990," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 255-286, May.
    7. Lisa Cook, 2014. "Violence and economic activity: evidence from African American patents, 1870–1940," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 221-257, June.
    8. Collins, William J. & Margo, Robert A., 2001. "Race and Home Ownership: A Century-Long View," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 68-92, January.
    9. Dora L. Costa, 2008. "The Rise of Retirement Among African Americans: Wealth and Social Security Effects," NBER Working Papers 14462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Logan, Trevon D., 2009. "Health, human capital, and African-American migration before 1910," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 169-185, April.
    11. Trevon D. Logan, 2018. "Do Black Politicians Matter?," NBER Working Papers 24190, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Leah Boustan & Robert A. Margo, 2014. "Racial Differences in Health in Long-Run Perspective: A Brief Introduction," NBER Working Papers 20765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. William J. Collins & Michael Q. Moody, 2017. "Racial Differences in American Women's Labor Market Outcomes: A Long-Run View," NBER Working Papers 23397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Margo, Robert A., 2016. "Obama, Katrina, and the Persistence of Racial Inequality," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(02), pages 301-341, June.
    15. William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 2001. "Race and Home Ownership in Twentieth Century America: The Role of Sample Composition," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0110, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    16. Cook, Lisa D., 2011. "Inventing social capital: Evidence from African American inventors, 1843–1930," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 507-518.
    17. William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 1999. "Race and Home Ownership, 1900 to 1990," NBER Working Papers 7277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. William J. Collins & Marianne H. Wanamaker, 2017. "Up from Slavery? African American Intergenerational Economic Mobility Since 1880," NBER Working Papers 23395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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