NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Health, Human Capital, and African American Migration Before 1910

Trevon D. Logan

NBER Working Paper No. 14037
Issued in May 2008
NBER Program(s):   DAE   HE

This is the first paper to document the effect of health on the migration propensities of African Americans in the American past. Using both IPUMS and the Colored Troops Sample of the Civil War Union Army Data, I estimate the effects of literacy and health on the migration propensities of African Americans from 1870 to 1910. I find that literacy and health shocks were strong predictors of migration and the stock of health was not. There were differential selection propensities based on slave status - former slaves were less likely to migrate given a specific health shock than free blacks. Counterfactuals suggest that as much as 35% of the difference in the mobility patterns of former slaves and free blacks is explained by differences in their human capital, and more than 20% of that difference is due to health alone. Overall, the selection effect of literacy on migration is reduced by one-tenth to one-third once health is controlled for. The low levels of human capital accumulation and rates of mobility for African Americans after the Civil War are partly explained by the poor health status of slaves and their immediate descendants.

download in pdf format
   (223 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (223 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14037

Published: Logan, Trevon D., 2009. "Health, human capital, and African-American migration before 1910," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 169-185, April. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Heckman, Humphries, LaFontaine, and Rodriguez w14044 Taking the Easy Way Out: How the GED Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us