NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Up from Poverty? The 1832 Cherokee Land Lottery and the Long-run Distribution of Wealth

Hoyt Bleakley, Joseph P. Ferrie

NBER Working Paper No. 19175
Issued in June 2013
NBER Program(s):   DAE   DEV   LS

The state of Georgia allocated most of its land to the public through a system of lotteries. These episodes provide unusual opportunities to assess the long-term impact of large shocks to wealth, as winning was uncorrelated with individual characteristics and participation was nearly universal among the eligible population of adult white male Georgians. We use one of these episodes to examine the idea that the lower tail of the wealth distribution reflects in part a wealth-based poverty trap because of limited access to capital. Using wealth measured in the 1850 Census manuscripts, we follow up on a sample of men eligible to win in the 1832 Cherokee Land Lottery. We assess the impact of lottery winning on the distribution of wealth 18 years after the fact. Winners are on average richer (by an amount close to the median of 1850 wealth), but mainly due to a (net) shifting of mass from the middle to the upper tail of the wealth distribution. The lower tail is largely unaffected.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

This paper was revised on August 15, 2013

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Caldeira, Foucault, and Rota-Graziosi w18118 Does Decentralization Facilitate Access to Poverty-Related Services? Evidence from Benin
Bleakley, Costa, and Lleras-Muney w19162 Health, Education and Income in the United States, 1820-2000
Meyer and Sullivan w16751 Consumption and Income Poverty over the Business Cycle
Bleakley and Ferrie w19348 Shocking Behavior : Random Wealth in Antebellum Georgia and Human Capital Across Generations
Sinn w13454 Public Policies against Global Warming
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us