Shame and Ostracism: Union Army Deserters Leave Home

47 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2004 Last revised: 28 Jun 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: April 2004

Abstract

During the Civil War not all men served honorably and this was known by everyone in their communities. We study how shame and ostracism affect behavior by examining whether men who deserted from the Union Army, and who faced no legal sanctions once the war was over, returned home or whether they moved and re-invented themselves. We build a unique panel data set that provides us with a control group for deserters because we can identify men who deserted but then returned to fight with their companies. We find that, compared to non-deserters and returned deserters, deserters were more likely to move both out of state and further distances. This effect was stronger for deserters from pro-war communities. When deserters moved they were more likely to move to anti-war states than non-deserters. Our study provides a rare test of the empirical implications of emotion. While both shame and ostracism would push deserters out of their home community, we find no evidence that deserters faced economic sanctions.

Suggested Citation

Costa, Dora L. and Kahn, Matthew E., Shame and Ostracism: Union Army Deserters Leave Home (April 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10425. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=529005

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

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
32
Abstract Views
1,311
PlumX Metrics