Reconstruction-Era Education and Long-Run Black-White Inequality

43 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2022 Last revised: 17 Feb 2023

See all articles by Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones

University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public & International Affairs

Ethan Schmick

Marquette University

Date Written: July 18, 2022

Abstract

The Reconstruction-era of American history (c. 1866-1877) saw widespread efforts to educate recently freed people - efforts which were partially abandoned after Reconstruction. This paper examines the impact of childhood exposure to educational opportunity during Reconstruction on later-life outcomes for recently freed people. Using data on the number of teachers in Black schools and a linked census sample, we find that Black children exposed to greater educational opportunity during Reconstruction had increased literacy and occupational standing as adults. Their sons also experienced gains suggesting that Reconstruction-era efforts, had they persisted, would have impacted Black-white gaps into the 20th Century.

Keywords: Reconstruction, education, later-life outcomes

JEL Classification: N31, I21

Suggested Citation

Jones, Daniel and Schmick, Ethan, Reconstruction-Era Education and Long-Run Black-White Inequality (July 18, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4165983 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4165983

Daniel Jones

University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public & International Affairs ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15260-0001
United States

HOME PAGE: http://danielbjones.weebly.com

Ethan Schmick (Contact Author)

Marquette University ( email )

P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
United States

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