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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 1 No. 1 (Summer 1987)

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The Economic Revolution in the American South

Article Citation

Wright, Gavin. 1987. "The Economic Revolution in the American South." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 1(1): 161-178.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.1.1.161

Abstract

As recently as twenty-five years ago, regional economic backwardness in the states of the traditional American South was considered an intractable problem of continuing national concern. Obviously, much has changed since then. The modern period of economic convergence for the South only began in earnest when the institutional foundations of its regional labor market were undermined, largely by federal farm and labor legislation dating from the 1930s. Ironically, the resurgence of the South came in the wake of policies which threatened to cripple the region's industrialization, by forcing up labor costs in low-wage sectors. This apparent paradox calls for a closer look at initial conditions as well as at the regional growth process over the last 50 years. Though it may be the case that Southern wages and incomes were bound to converge to national levels eventually, the path actually taken was a choice of one among several alternative paths to that result.

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Authors

Wright, Gavin (Unlisted)

JEL Classifications

941: Regional Economic Studies

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