A Poll Tax by any Other Name: The Political Economy of Disenfranchisement
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.
We thank George Krause for helpful comments and suggestions. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.