Freedom Laws & the Economics of Ethnicity

132 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2012 Last revised: 24 Feb 2012

See all articles by James E Curtis Jr

James E Curtis Jr

The James Edward Curtis Jr Education Foundation

Date Written: January 23, 2012


The debate over market/individual regulation and freedom is not a new discussion. However, a clear understanding of the freedoms (or the lack of freedoms) and their economic consequences on early black Americans provides an informative understanding to the freedoms (or the lack of freedoms), and their economic consequences on other, modern ethnic groups. Leon Litwick (1961) and Ira Berlin (1974) provide the most comprehensive historical accounts of free blacks in the north and south, respectively. This study attempts to build upon their successes by presenting one of the first national studies that combines the legal, demographic and economic experiences of free blacks, with an extended analysis of antebellum wealth inequality. In doing so, I investigate the link between the social asymmetry and economic asymmetry among early blacks and whites in the United States of America. For the empirical study, I used cross-sectional variables from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Sample (IPUMS), I developed informative conditional ratios, and I employ least squares statistical analyses. This study finds that economic differences among ethnic groups, as measured by differences between early blacks and whites, are intertwined with asymmetrical freedoms.

Keywords: constitution, government, economics of ethnicity, economic inequality, economic discrimination

JEL Classification: H5, H7, C44, N4, N3, J7, B15, D31, D91, E21, H54, H73, I2, I3, J15, J18, J31, J71, K00, N11, N31, N4

Suggested Citation

Curtis Jr, James E, Freedom Laws & the Economics of Ethnicity (January 23, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

James E Curtis Jr (Contact Author)

The James Edward Curtis Jr Education Foundation ( email )

PO Box 3126
Washington, DC 20010
United States
(202) 739-1962 (Phone)


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