Explaining the rise in antebellum pauperism, 1850-1860: New evidence

L. Lynne Kiesling, Robert A. Margo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Between 1850 and 1860 the total "pauper rate"-the number of individuals receiving public assistance per 1,000 population-increased from 5.8 to 10.2. We explore the determinants of the rise in antebellum pauperism using previously enexploited archival data. Changing labor market conditions, urbanization, and immigration led to a marked increase in the demand for public assistance. Antebellum taxpayers, however, were unwilling to maintain the generosity of relief at existing levels in the face of the rise in demand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-417
Number of pages13
JournalQuarterly Review of Economics and Finance
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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