The Impact of Antebellum Slavery on Contemporary Income Inequality
The authors relate county-level data on the population of slaves in the antebellum South to present-day county-level Gini ratios on income inequality. Outside the five Deep Southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, the intensity of slavery in 1860 is associated with a lower degree of income inequality. Inside these same five states in counties where the population of slaves accounted for more than 71 percent of the county’s total population in 1860, there is evidence of a strong positive relationship between slavery and contemporary income inequality.
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