Synopses & Reviews
This book refutes prevailing theories that attribute post-1950 state per capita income convergence to (1) neo-classical adjustment mechanisms, (2) institutional sclerosis, and (3) southern industrialization. Wheat and Crown argue that southern income was low because of slavery's legacy—sharecropping, agricultural dependence, low urbanization, poor education, high Black population percentages, and low wage rates. The legacy's dominant feature was the sharecropper-tenant farmer system, which replaced slavery. Sharecropping was the foundation of southern poverty. Sharecropping's collapse, beginning around 1950, affected all of the other features of slavery's legacy. For example, millions of sharecroppers out-migrated from the South, shifting poverty to the North and lowering the South's Black percentage. This out-migration, white in-migration, and the civil rights movement jointly raised educational attainment in the South, further boosting southern income. Southern industrialization had only a marginally significant effect. In 1950's high income region, the West, the transport cost element in the price of manufactured goods shrank because of (1) transportation improvements and (2) rapid manufacturing growth, which reduced the need for long distance imports from the Manufacturing Belt. The resulting decline in the West's relative cost of living led to wage adjustments. Consequently, the West—despite having the highest manufacturing growth rates—had the nation's lowest per-capita income growth rates. Agricultural decline and educational gains stimulated income growth in the Plains. Nationally, per-capita employment gains were a strong influence.
...informative and challenging work.Choice
The authors refute prevailing theories that attribute post-1950 state per-capita income convergence to (1) neoclassical adjustment mechanisms, (2) institutional sclerosis, and (3) southern industrialization. In the South, Wheat and Crown contend that sharecropping's collapse stimulated income in many ways. In the West, transport cost developments inhibited income growth, while in the Plains, changes in agriculture and education counted most.
Wheat and Crown attribute state per-capita income convergence to factors other than those emphasized in the income literature. As such, the book will be of particular interest to regional economists and southern economists.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -176) and index.
About the Author
LEONARD F. WHEAT is an economist with the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.WILLIAM H. CROWN is Associate Professor at Brandeis University.
Table of Contents
Empirical Studies Explaining Income
Theoretical Explanations of Income Convergence
Hypotheses and Preliminary Evidence
Methodology, Variables, and Correlation Findings
Further Analysis, Summary, and Conclusions