NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

A Poll Tax by any Other Name: The Political Economy of Disenfranchisement

Daniel B. Jones, Werner Troesken, Randall Walsh

NBER Working Paper No. 18612
Issued in December 2012
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy, Public Economics, Political Economy

In this paper, we examine the political economy of voting rights in the American South. We begin by measuring the impact of both formal laws and informal modes of voter suppression on African-American political participation. In contrast to prior research, we find evidence that both formal and informal modes of voter suppression were important and mutually reinforcing. Part of our analysis includes explicitly identifying the magnitude and causal effects of lynching on black voter participation. We then turn to analyzing to the relatively unexplored question of how disenfranchisement-and the accompanying shifts in political power-affected policy outcomes, congressional voting, and partisan control of state and federal legislatures.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18612

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