How long are the chains of slavery in the United States? Estimates of the intergenerational effects for black males between 1880-1930.

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Date: Sept-Dec 2019
From: Social and Economic Studies(Vol. 68, Issue 3-4)
Publisher: University of the West Indies, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies
Document Type: Article
Length: 5,149 words
Lexile Measure: 1740L

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Abstract :

While chattel Negro slavery in the United States ended in 1865, racial inequality between the descendants of Negro slaves and other racial groups, particularly whites, persists. While explanations for the causes of this inequality are many, the extent to which it is a consequence of Negro slavery itself is an empirical question that is relatively underexplored. In this paper, with linked data on males and their fathers in the 1880-1930 US Census, I consider the extent to which slavery conditioned the economic mobility and status of males who had fathers born as slaves approximately 65years after the emancipation of Negro Slaves. My parameter estimates of the elasticity of son's economic mobility and status with respect to their father's slave status suggests that through 1930, being a black male descendant of a black male slave father mattered and was associated with lower economic mobility and status. 1 also estimate the decay rate associated with the intergenerational effect of slavery, and find that the chains of slavery are quite long in that as of 1930, it would take as long as 175 years, approximately, for the effects of slavery to disappear entirely. The implied counter/actuals of my estimates provide a context and basis for reparations, as they suggest that in the absence of slavery, the economic mobility and status of male slave descendants would have been higher. The reduction in economic status I mobility as a result of being a descendant of a male slave can be viewed as the "reparable " intergenerational harm of Negro chattel slavery in the US. Keywords: Negro Slavery, Intergenerational Mobility, Reparations JEL Classification: B52, D39, D63,131, J15, J24, Z13

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A644229068