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Eriksson's research on post-war wealth of slaveowners featured in WSJ+

Several major news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and the Economist, covered the release of a new working paper by Katherine Eriksson, joint with Philipp Ager of the University of Southern Denmark and Leah Boustan of Princeton. The researchers find that after the Civil War, slave-owning families quickly recouped their wealth following general emancipation.

In 1870, after the Civil War, households which had held wealth as slaves before the war lost a disproportionate amount of their wealth compared to equally wealthy non-slaveholding households. This large wealth shock, however, was not passed on in terms of lower occupational standing of the sons of slaveholders. In fact, these sons caught back up to sons of non-slaveholders by 1880 and, if anything, surpassed them by 1900.

The authors speculate that this persistence of the southern elite class was partly due to social networks.