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Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality 2019-12-06 17:21:33

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This is absolutely fascinating. The rich in the American South are much poorer a generation after the Civil War then they had been before: sharecropping and Jim Crow are less effective at extracting wealth from African-Americans. But Phil Ager and company find no signs that those fractions of the elite who were direct slaveholders lost more than those members of the elite who were indirect slaveholders. I am going to have to think very hard about this: Philipp Ager, Leah Platt Boustan, and Katherine Eriksson: The Intergenerational Effects of a Large Wealth Shock: White Southerners After the Civil War: "The nullification of slave-based wealth after the US Civil War (1861-65) was one of the largest episodes of wealth compression in history. We document that white southern households with

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This is absolutely fascinating. The rich in the American South are much poorer a generation after the Civil War then they had been before: sharecropping and Jim Crow are less effective at extracting wealth from African-Americans. But Phil Ager and company find no signs that those fractions of the elite who were direct slaveholders lost more than those members of the elite who were indirect slaveholders. I am going to have to think very hard about this: Philipp Ager, Leah Platt Boustan, and Katherine Eriksson: The Intergenerational Effects of a Large Wealth Shock: White Southerners After the Civil War: "The nullification of slave-based wealth after the US Civil War (1861-65) was one of the largest episodes of wealth compression in history. We document that white southern households with more slave assets lost substantially more wealth by 1870 relative to households with otherwise similar pre-War wealth levels. Yet, the sons of these slaveholders recovered in income and wealth proxies by 1880, in part by shifting into white collar positions and marrying into higher status families. Their pattern of recovery is most consistent with the importance of social networks in facilitating employment opportunities and access to credit...

Bradford DeLong
J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

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