When the Levee Breaks: Black Migration and Economic Development in the American South

From Richard Hornbeck and Suresh Naidu:

In the American South, post-bellum economic development may have been restricted in part by white landowners’ access to low-wage black labor. This paper examines the impact of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 on black out-migration and subsequent agricultural development. Flooded counties experienced an immediate and persistent out-migration of black population. Over time, landowners in flooded counties modernized agricultural production and increased its capital intensity rela- tive to landowners in nearby similar non-flooded counties. Landowners resisted black out-migration, however, benefiting from the status quo system of labor-intensive agri- cultural production.

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About ozidar

I'm an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Faculty Research Fellow at National Bureau of Economic Research. You can follow me on twitter @omzidar. http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/owen.zidar/index.html
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