The economic origins of the postwar southern elite

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2018-04-01
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Dupont, Brandon
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Rosenbloom, Joshua
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Economics

The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 to teach economic theory as a truth of industrial life, and was very much concerned with applying economics to business and industry, particularly agriculture. Between 1910 and 1967 it showed the growing influence of other social studies, such as sociology, history, and political science. Today it encompasses the majors of Agricultural Business (preparing for agricultural finance and management), Business Economics, and Economics (for advanced studies in business or economics or for careers in financing, management, insurance, etc).

History
The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 under the Division of Industrial Science (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); it became co-directed by the Division of Agriculture in 1919. In 1910 it became the Department of Economics and Political Science. In 1913 it became the Department of Applied Economics and Social Science; in 1924 it became the Department of Economics, History, and Sociology; in 1931 it became the Department of Economics and Sociology. In 1967 it became the Department of Economics, and in 2007 it became co-directed by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business.

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1898–present

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  • Department of Economic Science (1898–1910)
  • Department of Economics and Political Science (1910-1913)
  • Department of Applied Economics and Social Science (1913–1924)
  • Department of Economics, History and Sociology (1924–1931)
  • Department of Economics and Sociology (1931–1967)

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Abstract

The U.S. Civil War destroyed a substantial fraction of southern wealth and emancipation transferred human capital to the formerly enslaved. The prevailing view of most economic historians is that the southern planter elite was able to retain its relative status despite these shocks. Previous studies have been hampered, however, by limits on the ability to link individuals between census years, and scholars have been forced to focus on persistence within one or a few counties. Recent advances in electronic access to the Federal Census manuscripts now make it possible to link individuals without these constraints. In this paper, we exploit the ability to search the full manuscript census to construct a sample that links top wealth holders in 1870 to their 1860 census records. Although there was an entrenched southern planter elite that retained their economic status, we find evidence that the turmoil of the 1860s opened greater opportunities for mobility in the South than was the case in the North, resulting in much greater turnover among wealthy southerners than among comparably wealthy northerners.

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This is a manuscript of an article published as Dupont, Brandon, and Joshua L. Rosenbloom. "The economic origins of the postwar southern elite." Explorations in Economic History 68 (2018): 119-131. doi: 10.1016/j.eeh.2017.09.002. Posted with permission.

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Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2017
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