Cowards and Heroes: Group Loyalty in the American Civil War

36 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2001 Last revised: 25 Oct 2010

See all articles by Dora L. Costa

Dora L. Costa

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Matthew E. Kahn

University of Southern California; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 2001

Abstract

What motivated men to risk death in the most horrific war in U.S. history when pay was low and irregular and military punishment strategies were weak? In such a situation creating group loyalty by promoting social capital is of paramount importance and in the Civil War was the cement of both armies. We find that individual and company socio-economic and demographic characteristics, ideology, and morale were important predictors of group loyalty in the Union Army. Company characteristics were more important than ideology or morale. Soldiers in companies that were more homogeneous in ethnicity, occupation, and age were less likely to shirk.

Suggested Citation

Costa, Dora L. and Kahn, Matthew E., Cowards and Heroes: Group Loyalty in the American Civil War (December 2001). NBER Working Paper No. w8627. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=293240

Dora L. Costa (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Matthew E. Kahn

University of Southern California ( email )

2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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