We examine the role of southern legislators in resisting·the early expansion of the welfare state in the 1930s. A desire to keep agricultural labor cheap and dependent on southern landlords motivated the resistance. Dependence promoted a loyal labor force and thereby reduced monitoring costs in the labor-intensive production of cotton. Federal and state welfare programs would have substituted for landlord paternalism and hence made labor less loyal. Evidence on the federal Old-Age and Unemployment Insurance systems and state Old-Age Pension and Mothers' Aid programs are found consistent with our hypothesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)