NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Louis Cain

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Working Papers and Chapters

October 2013Amidst Poverty and Prejudice: Black and Irish Civil War Veterans
with Hoyt Bleakley, Joseph Ferrie: w19605
This study examines a wide range of health and economic outcomes in a sample of Irish- and African-American Civil War veterans during the postbellum period. The information in our data is from a variety of circumstances across an individual’s life span, and we use that to attempt to explain whether the disparities in mortality are related to disparities in life experiences. We find evidence of disparities between Irish and blacks and others in such variables as occupation and wealth, morbidity, and mortality. The data do not reveal disparate outcomes for all blacks and Irish; they only reveal inferior outcomes for slave-born blacks and foreign-born Irish. For the freeborn blacks and native-born Irish, for whom the historical tradition suggests discrimination and prejudice, the data only...
August 2011Was What Ail'd Ya' What Kill'd Ya'?
with Robert W. Fogel, Joseph Burton, Brian Bettenhausen: w17322
Making use of those Union Army veterans for whom death certificates are available, we compare the conditions with which they were diagnosed by Civil War pension surgeons to the causes of death on the certificates. We divide the data between those veterans who entered the pension system early because of war injuries and those who entered the pension system after the 1890 reform that made it available to many more veterans. We examine the correlation between specific conditions and death causes to gauge support for the hypothesis that death is attributable to something specific. We also examine the correlation between the accumulation of rated conditions to time until death to gauge support for the “insult hypothesis.” In general, we find support for both hypotheses. Examining the hazard r...

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