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The Intergenerational Effects of a Large Wealth Shock: White Southerners After the Civil War

Philipp Ager (), Leah Boustan () and Katherine Eriksson ()

No 25700, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: The nullification of slave wealth after the U.S. Civil War (1861-65) was one of the largest episodes of wealth compressions in history. We document that white Southern households holding more slave assets in 1860 lost substantially more wealth by 1870, relative to households that had been equally wealthy before the war. Yet, the sons of former slaveholders recovered relative to comparable sons by 1900, and grandsons surpassed their counterparts in educational and occupational attainment by 1940. We find that social networks facilitated this recovery, with sons marrying into other former slaveholding families. Transmission of entrepreneurship and skills appear less central.

JEL-codes: J62 N11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-lab
Note: CH DAE LS
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