Whitelashing: Black Politicians, Taxes, and Violence
33 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2019 Last revised: 30 Jan 2022
Date Written: June 2019
This paper provides the first evidence of the effect of tax policy on the likelihood of violent attacks against black politicians. I find a strong positive effect of local tax revenue on subsequent violence against black politicians. A dollar increase in per capita county taxes increases the likelihood of a violent attack by more than 25%. The result is robust to numerous economic, social, historical, and political factors. I also find that counties where black officeholders were attacked had the largest negative tax revenue changes between 1870 and 1880 and that violence against black politicians is unrelated to other forms of post-Reconstruction racial violence. This provides the first quantitative evidence that political violence at Reconstruction's end was related to black political efficacy.
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