Intergenerational Immobility: A Legacy of Racial Violence

Journal article

Arellano, Adrian (2023) Intergenerational Immobility: A Legacy of Racial Violence, Security Studies 32.

Read the article here (Open Access)

What are the long-run consequences of racial violence on intergenerational mobility? Do its impacts extend to the broader community? Using newly available longitudinal data covering much of the US population from 1989–2015, this study documents two results. First, it establishes a statistical association between the severity of lynching of Black Americans and long-run economic outcomes across the Southern United States. Counties that experienced racial violence most intensely in the past have lower levels of Black upward mobility today. Second, although most lynch victims were Black males, their long-run consequences are equally observable for the current generation of both Black males and females. Living in counties that experienced lynchings in the 19th and 20th centuries reduces Black upwardly mobile in the 21st century. These findings demonstrate that collective violence may hinder long-term intergenerational mobility for the broader affected community, irrespective of temporal proximity or sex.

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