Art Carden  

Formal and Informal Violence Against African-Americans: Two Papers

Jonathan Chait's bizarre idea ... Tyler Cowen on ECB policy...

Last night, I ended up spending an undue amount of time following the #Ferguson feed on Twitter and watching insanity unfold in real time. Here are a couple of papers I've written that might be relevant:

1. "Inputs and Institutions as Conservative Elements." Published version here, ungated and old SSRN version here.


This essay examines economic stagnation by extending the argument that capital goods and "conservative elements" to the analysis of social capital and institutions in the post-Reconstruction South. It is argued that the structure of social capital that developed in the South was inappropriate to the formal institutions that emerged as a result of the Civil War and Reconstruction. The tensions between institutions and social capital are examined in the context of racist lynching.

2. "The Political Economy of the Reconstruction Era's Race Riots." Published. Accepted version. 2010 WP version that's basically a different paper.


This paper analyzes the political economy of the Reconstruction Era's (1865-1877) race riots through the economic logic of rules. The central argument is that the race riots were not an inevitable outcome at the end of the Civil War, but instead occurred because of the absence of effective rules to raise the cost of engaging in violence. We offer a general framework of 'rule stickiness' to analyze the process of rule reform. This framework offers insight into the conditions influencing the enforcement costs of formal rules, as well as the likelihood of third-party enforcers effectively monitoring and punishing rule breakers. The Memphis race riot of 1866 is provided as a case study to illuminate the explanatory power of the theoretical framework.

Please email me if you would like PDFs of the published versions, and I'll be happy to send them to you.

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CATEGORIES: Economic History

COMMENTS (4 to date)
Arthur_500 writes:

Our media, politicians and politically correct individuals all have a stake in continued racism. They support it and perpetuate it.

The use of the term African-American is one of the most racist things you can say. I urge you to reject this term.

I am the first generation of my family to speak English as my first language. Yes I have spent time in the "old" country and learned the language, dances, customs and history. However, I have been raised as an American. People call me an American.

An individual whose family was brought to these shores over 150 years ago is referred to as an African-American. When do they become an American? When their skin turns white?

In writing we are taught that adjectives are to be used when it is meaningful. Race, Color Creed, Gender are all adjectives that may have no bearing on the subject. If an individual is acting in a criminal fashion their act is what is important. If someone is looking for another and their color may help to describe and assist in finding that person then the adjective is appropriate.

Regretfully, the adjectives are often appropriate but politically correct individuals call it racial profiling. No Duh. If you are looking for a female oriental it wastes time and resources searching through everyone just because looking for a female oriental is profiling. the whole purpose for profiling is to narrow the field.

Racism exists. We continue to fight against the inappropriate discrimination based on color of skin. However, the use of African-American is not unlike using the infamous "N" word that is not allowed in our common vocabulary (for non-colored people that is).

I urge you not to use the term African-American and do not accept its use by others unless it actually is a correct description - such as with President Obama whose father was African and whose mother was American.

paul writes:

very well put. our cultural fetish with skin color is unbecoming to say the least.

Greg G writes:


You made a very convincing and sensible argument there and I think I will avoid the term in the future as a result.

Still it is hard to talk about race without offending someone. And it's hard to find general rules that always work. Many people proudly call themselves Italian-American or Irish-American or African-Americans even if their parents were both both in this country.

And many are offended by the term "oriental." It's a minefield.

Thomas Sewell writes:

Reminds me of a local High School student who proudly used the name "African American", her family being recent immigrants from South Africa.

Of course, she was also white, which caused plenty of consternation among the local politically correct crowd, who couldn't figure out how to correct the obvious fact that she was literally an African American....

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