"The Geography of Black Economic Progress After Slavery" - Lukas Althoff, Princeton University

Oct 24, 1:20 pm2:35 pm
Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building, Rm 217
Event Description


This paper studies the long-run impact of racially oppressive institutions---from slavery to Jim Crow---on Black American families until today. To do so, we link decades of U.S. census and administrative records and develop new methods to measure how long a family's ancestors were  enslaved and how intensively they experienced Jim Crow after slavery. We find that a family's long-run economic progress critically depends on the location in which they were freed. Black families who were freed in states with more intensive Jim Crow institutions made less economic progress after slavery. In a border discontinuity design, we show that families freed just inside of states with a strong Jim Crow regime fared far worse than those freed just outside of those states. These gaps did not exist before Jim Crow and did not arise for white Americans. We also provide evidence that limiting Black children's access to education was a key channel.