Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Randall Filer

Second Advisor

Matthew Baker

Academic Program Adviser

Randall Filer


This paper examines the effects of migration from eastern slave states in the 19th century on the subsequent development of counties in the Western US. I find that increased migration from slave states has a large, statistically significant negative effect on 2010 income, and no significant effect on racial inequality or overall income inequality. These findings are robust to a variety of specifications, including controls for geographic factors, state fixed effects, and various county level social and economic conditions. Data on individual migrants suggest that the cause of the negative income effect is the lower average human capital endowment of migrants from slave states.



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