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The Decline in Southern Agricultural Output, 1860–1880

  • Garland L. Brinkley (a1)
Abstract

Per capita agricultural output sharply declined in the “Confederate States” between 1860 and 1880. This article asserts that the decline in agricultural output was partially the result of increased disease (hookworm) brought about by substandard living conditions suffered by the Southern population during the Civil War. Skeletal remains and mortality data, ubiquitous hookworm symptoms among the Southern population, and regression analysis support this hypothesis. The econometric results strongly suggest that emancipation and increased hookworm infection were responsible for the income decline while an increase in the percentage of sharecropping tenancy arrangements increased southern productivity.

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