Workplace Diversity and Black-White Social Relations

This paper shows that the substantial upgrade of African American workers at mid-century is causally related to WWII. Combining a novel military casualty data set with U.S. Census data, difference-in-differences (DiD) results show that counties with higher WWII casualty rates among semi-skilled whites experienced a stronger influx of blacks into semi-skilled jobs during and after the war. On average, a fallen semi-skilled white soldier was replaced by 1.8 black workers. This occupational upgrading not only has positive economic effects on blacks, but also increases their social status in the U.S. South. Instrumental variables (IV) results using survey data from 1961 provide evidence that individuals living in counties with a casualty-induced skill upgrade of blacks had an increased probability of having an interracial friendship, of living in mixed-race areas, and of having more positive attitudes towards integration in general, at school, and at church.

Media coverage: EHS – The Long Run

Fatherless: The Long-Term Effects of Losing a Father in the U.S. Civil War (with Yannick Dupraz)

We use the demographic shock of the U.S. Civil War to study the consequences of losing a father during childhood on long-term child development outcomes, as well as inter-generational effects on the grandchildren of the deceased soldiers. We link data from the universe of Union Army soldiers to the full-count U.S. Census to identify fathers who fought in the war, before linking the 1860 Census to later Censuses, following the children and grandchildren of soldiers over time. We instrument a father’s death probability by the casualty rate of his military unit. We show that these casualty rates are mainly determined by military strategy and not related to the socioeconomic composition of units.