The Color Factor: The Economics of African-American Well-Being in the Nineteenth-Century South

Hardcover | June 15, 2015

byHoward Bodenhorn

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Despite the many advances that the United States has made in racial equality over the past half century, numerous events within the past several years have proven prejudice to be alive and well in modern-day America. In one such example, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina dismissed one ofher principal advisors in 2013 when his membership in the ultra-conservative Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) came to light. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in 2001 the CCC website included a message that read "God is the one who divided mankind into different races.... Mixingthe races is rebelliousness against God." This episode reveals America's continuing struggle with race, racial integration, and race mixing-a problem that has plagued the United States since its earliest days as a nation. The Color Factor: The Economics of African-American Well-Being in the Nineteenth-Century South demonstrates that the emergent twenty-first-century recognition of race mixing and the relative advantages of light-skinned, mixed-race people represent a re-emergence of one salient feature of race inAmerica that dates to its founding. Economist Howard Bodenhorn presents the first full-length study of the ways in which skin color intersected with policy, society, and economy in the nineteenth-century South. With empirical and statistical rigor, the investigation confirms that individuals ofmixed race experienced advantages over African Americans in multiple dimensions - in occupations, family formation and family size, wealth, health, and access to freedom, among other criteria. The Color Factor concludes that we will not really understand race until we understand how American attitudes toward race were shaped by race mixing. The text is an ideal resource for students, social scientists, and historians, and anyone hoping to gain a deeper understanding of the historicalroots of modern race dynamics in America.

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Despite the many advances that the United States has made in racial equality over the past half century, numerous events within the past several years have proven prejudice to be alive and well in modern-day America. In one such example, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina dismissed one ofher principal advisors in 2013 when his memb...

Howard Bodenhorn is Professor of Economics at Clemson University and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has published widely on several issues in economic history, including banking and financial markets, the economics of race and identity, and the economics of crime. He has received several awards an...

other books by Howard Bodenhorn

Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.21 × 6.3 × 0.98 inPublished:June 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019938309X

ISBN - 13:9780199383092

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Legal constructions of race and interpretations of color2. Race mixing and color in literature and science3. The plantation4. Finding freedom5. Marriage and the family6. Work7. Wealth8. Height, health and mortality

Editorial Reviews

"A tour-de-force of interdisciplinary scholarship, Howard Bodenhorn creatively and exhaustively mines an astonishing array of archival materials to study quantitatively the social and economic effects of skin complexion in the early-nineteenth-century United States. Elegantly written, TheColor Factor is required reading for scholars wishing to understand how changing economic, social, and political institutions affected the determination of racial identity and its consequences during a crucial period in American history." --Robert A. Margo, Professor of Economics, Boston University