Educational policy analysis archives

Educational policy analysis archives

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Educational policy analysis archives
Arizona State University
University of South Florida
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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 9, no. 16 (May 13, 2001).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c May 13, 2001
Wealth redistribution, race and Southern public schools, 1880-1910 / Kenneth Ng.
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1 of 22 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 9 Number 16May 13, 2001ISSN 1068-2341 A peer-reviewed scholarly journal Editor: Gene V Glass, College of Education Arizona State University Copyright 2001, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES. Permission is hereby granted to copy any article if EPAA is credited and copies are not sold. Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education .Wealth Redistribution, Race and Southern Public Schools, 1880-1910 Kenneth Ng California State University-NorthridgeRelated article: Dorn: Vol. 9 No. 17 Abstract This article measures the wealth redistribution eff ected by southern public schools and the taxes which supported them. It extends and contributes to the existing literature on this subj ect in three ways. First, the measurement is based on a larger sample of sout hern states and over more years than previous efforts. Second, this arti cle establishes that from 1880 to 1910 throughout the South the public s chools were a conduit for a consistent and significant flow of re sources from whites to blacks. Blacks did not pay enough taxes to fully fi nance black public schools even at the lower levels dictated by white controlled school boards. Third, the establishment of segregated scho ols and the disenfranchisement of southern blacks did not elimi nate this transfer but only moderately reduced it. The effect of Plessy v. Ferguson and the establishment of segregated schools was not as larg e as previously thought. Introduction Black educational achievement in the 50 yea rs following emancipation was


2 of 22substantial. Black literacy increased from 10% in 1 880 to 50% in 1910. (Note 2) Robert Higgs writes: But even if the true literacy figure a half century after emancipation reached only 50 percent, the magnitude of the accomplishmen t is still striking, especially when one recalls the overwhelming obstac les blocking black educational efforts. For a large population to tran sform itself from virtually unlettered to more than half literate in 50 years r anks as an accomplishment seldom witnessed in human history. (Note 3) Increasing black literacy becomes even more striking when placed in historical context. The 50 years following emancipation saw th e establishment of an oppressive racial code in the South, the elimination of blacks from the political process, and the establishment and subsequent constitutional validat ion of a "separate but equal" black school system. (Note 4) Measuring the contribution of the public sc hools and their supporting taxes is a historically relevant and interesting exercise for two reasons. First, any history of black achievement must include not only an account of bla ck accomplishments, such as the rise in black literacy in the postbellum era, but a careful description of the environment in which these accomplishments occurred. Given the central importance of literacy and education to effective participation in the politic al process and the improvement (or lack of improvement) in absolute and relative black inco mes, a careful description of the assistance (or lack of assistance) provided by gove rnment is crucial. Second, assessing taxes to support the publ ic schools and allocating funds between racial groups was effected if not determined by the perceived and actual movement of resources between racial groups. Although the const itution does not recognize separate classes of citizens who should be responsible for p aying for their own schools, southern whites did think of the world as divided into two g roups: black and white. Many southern whites did hold to the normative position that blacks taxes should pay for black schools and white taxes should be reserved for whit e schools. To thoroughly understand white resistance to publicly supported black school s, the forces driving segregation, and changing support levels for black education, an und erstanding of the actual redistribution of wealth effected by the public sch ools and the taxes which supported them is paramount. (Note 5) Although measuring the contribution of publ ic schools and their supporting taxes is a historically interesting and relevant question, a ny assessment of the contribution of southern public schools to black educational achiev ement requires a careful distinction between two counterfactuals. First, did educational segregation retard black achievement, or stated more precisely, if the publi c schools had spent equal amounts on black and white children and the tax system support ing the public schools remained unchanged, would blacks have been better off? Obtai ning a yes answer to these questions is trivial (being obvious from the questi on being asked) although a quantitative estimate of the exact decrease in black educational resources would be interesting as would an estimate of the effect of such a decrease on black educational achievement. (Note 6) This first counterfactual has formed the ba sis for the condemnation of southern public schools. White dominated school boards used the doctrine of "separate but equal" to divert resources from black to white schools, th us increasing the quality of white education without being forced to impose higher tax es. This diversion along racial lines, combined with the generally lower level of educatio nal expenditures in the South has led scholars such as Harlan, Myrdal, Key, Ransom and Su tch, Higgs, Margo, and Kousser to condemn the southern public school system and speci fically the white dominated local school boards which allocated resources between bla ck and white schools. (Note 7) To quote Robert Higgs, "ramshackle and poorly equipped school houses, incompetent teachers, and half taught pupils and in many distri cts not even this much -characterized the black's portion of the public schools." (Note 8 )


3 of 22 This article does not address the normative question of the "just" level of support for black children, and, therefore, does not questi on this traditional criticism of the public schools. Instead a second counterfactual is answered, did the public schools, despite educational segregation, advance black educ ational achievement or stated more precisely, did the public schools and the taxes whi ch supported them redistribute wealth from whites to blacks? Black would have been better off if school boards had allocated resources equally between black and white children but did blacks benefit overall from public schools despite educational segregation? In addition, the related question is addressed, how did the disenfranchisement of blacks the constitutional validation of the doctrine of "separate but equal", and the establish ment of segregated schools alter the redistribution of wealth effected by the public sch ools and their supporting taxes. Speculating on the actual redistribution of wealth effected by the public schools has a long historical tradition. The most famous treatm ent is probably Du Bois who argued that black taxes paid for black schools. (Note 9) I n recent years, Morgan Kousser and Jonathan Pritchett measured the wealth redistributi on effected by public schools in North Carolina. (Note 10) This article improves on recent work by drawing on a larger number of southern states and a greater number of years. E xpanding the cross section of states is important because North Carolina, the basis for mos t previous calculations, is not very representative of the South as a whole. (Note 11) I n North Carolina, Kousser found that whites subsidized blacks before 1910, but by 1910 t he subsidy had been virtually eliminated. Looking at a larger number of states, a dif ferent result emerges. Southern public schools and their supporting taxes were a conduit f or a significant and continuous flow of resources from whites to blacks. The flow would have been much larger if per child expenditures were equalized but black schools recei ved some funds in excess of the taxes paid by blacks. Further, by 1910, when the sy stem of segregated schools had been firmly established, this flow had not been eliminat ed but only reduced by about 1/3rd. The effect of black disenfranchisement and segregat ion throughout the south was not to eliminate the black subsidy but to only moderately reduce it. In other words, the effect of disenfranchisement and segregation on black educati on may not have been as severe as previously thought. These estimates are the consequence of seve ral factors. First and foremost is the primary source of school funding-the property tax. During the period, primarily due to their emancipation without property, blacks owned s ignificantly less property than whites. In relative terms, blacks owned only 3.6% a s much property as whites in 1880 and 7.4 % as much property in 1910. (Note 12) Using the 1880 census, Nancy Virts and I ha ve recently shown that income was much more evenly distributed than property. (Note 1 3) Southern per capita black income in 1880 was 53% of white income. More importantly, because school spending was a local decision, per capita black labor income in ag ricultural areas, where the vast majority of blacks lived and went to school, was 79 % percent of white labor income. Adjusting for larger black families, black per work er labor income was 90% of white labor income in agricultural areas. It is obvious f rom these numbers that a property tax would tax blacks very little relative to whites wit h equal incomes. In other words, inherent to any property tax financed school system was a redistribution from property owners to non-property owners-i.e. from whites to b lacks. The second factor, almost as important, was the disenfranchisement of blacks through the use of the poll tax. As black literacy rates rose in the late nineteenth century, literacy tests as a device to exclude black voters, became less effective. Gradually, the poll tax replaced the literacy test as the primary barrier to black (and also poor white) voter participation. The effectiveness of the poll tax is evidenced by the steady decline in black voter participation from 63% in 1880 to less than 10% in 1910. (Note 14) However, unlike the literacy test the poll tax had an important effect on public school financing. The poll tax while excluding blac ks from voting also excluded blacks from contributing to public school financing. The d ramatic fall in black voter


4 of 22participation and the consequent fall in taxes coll ected from blacks transformed the poll tax from a device facilitating a flow of funds from blacks to whites in 1880 to one which transferred funds from whites to blacks in 1910. The third factor and the one which has draw n the most concentrated attention from scholars is the establishment of segregated schools Once segregated schools were established, it was a simple matter for white domin ated school boards to allocated more resources per child to white schools than black sch ools. (Note 15) It is important to note that consideration of this third factor in isolation from the other two factors is a meaningless exercise. To ill ustrate this point, consider hypothetical southern public schools forced by the courts to pro vide truly separate but equal schoolsequal defined here as spending equal amounts per ch ild regardless of race. It is not inconceivable to imagine white dominated school boa rds making a simultaneous adjustment of spending, increasing spending per bla ck child, and taxes, increasing black taxes, so that the average black family, on net, is no better off in truly equal schools than they were in segregated and unequal schools. I use the available quantitative evidence a nd examine how these three factors, the property tax, disenfranchisement and the poll tax, and so called "separate but equal" schools, combined to effect the educational resourc es available to black and white children. My basic result is that the favorable aspec ts of property tax financing and poll tax financing, where blacks did not vote, made the publ ic schools an institution which on net provided a continuous and significant flow of resou rces from white taxpayers to black children. It would have been larger if expenditures were equalized but remained positive in the face of hostile white southern politicians, racist institutions, and fixed elections. Stated another way, white dominated school boards a llocating educational resources unequally between black and white schools were unab le to overcome the favorable aspects of property and poll tax financing. The eff ect of segregation was a reduction but not elimination of the white subsidy of black schoo ls. This result necessitates a restatement of t he traditional condemnation of southern public schools. A non-segregated school system woul d have aided black educational efforts more than the "separate but equal" system t hat arose, but it is incorrect to view segregated southern schools as a device by which wh ites extracted wealth from blacks. When both taxes and expenditures are considered the separate but equal school system appears to have provided a net transfer to black st udents.


5 of 22Computing the Real Subsidy per Child Conceptually, computing the net resource f low in the public schools is straightforward; simply subtract taxes paid from th e value of education received. (Note 16) Since school funds had two sources, property an d poll taxes, the subsidy per child by race can be computed using equation 1. (Note 17) Subsidy = Expenditures Proprty Poll Taxes (1) Unfortunately, the historical record does not provide precise data on the relative importance of property and poll taxes in school fun ding. Because of this limitation, the educational subsidy is computed in three stages. Fi rst, the real subsidy, if property taxes were the sole source of school funds, is computed. Second, the real subsidy, if poll taxes were the sole source of school funds, is computed. Proceeding in this manner allows the inherent advantages and disadvantages for whites an d blacks in each source of school financing to be delineated. Finally, the real subsi dy, under a range of reasonable assumption about the relative importance of propert y and poll taxes in school funding, is computed. The real subsidy in a property tax financed public school system can be measured by first computing the tax rate needed to support h istoric levels of spending. The required tax rate is computed by dividing the t otal spent by the amount of taxable property. (Note 18) Once the required tax rate is k nown, the real subsidy in a property tax financed public school system can be computed. The real subsidy is computed by subtracting the tax es paid by race from the total spent on education by race and dividing by the number of enrolled children by race. Equations 2,3, and 4 require three pieces o f information: levels of assessed property by race, enrollment by race, and spending by race. Assessed property by race is given in


6 of 22 The required tax rate, given in Table 3 (See Appendix) increased dramatically from 1880 to 1910. Higher enrollments and higher sp ending levels, at least for white children, increased the required property tax rate. The increase in the value of taxable property only partially offset the effect of higher enrollments and spending. The public school expansion, often associated with progressivi sm, substantially increased the burden of taxation on property owners. Given prevai ling white racial attitudes and traditional southern aversion to expanding the role of government, it is easy to see why the redistribution of wealth through the public sch ools system was politically potent. (Note 24) The real black and white subsidy from a pro perty tax financed public school system, given in Table 3, establishes two important points. First, property tax financing provided a significant subsidy to black children. I n 1880, blacks paid only $.08 in property taxes and received $1.28 in education. Thi s implies a subsidy rate of 94%; for each dollar of education received blacks paid $.06 in property taxes. In 1910, blacks paid $.88 in property taxes and received $2.35 in educat ion. This implies a subsidy rate of 63%. Second, the increase in white enrollment relat ive to black enrollment and the increasing racial spending differential reduced but did not eliminate the subsidy inherent in a property tax financed public school system. De spite segregation, blacks received more than $2 of education in 1910 for each $1 in pr operty taxes paid. The other source of school funds was the po ll tax. The real subsidy in a poll tax financed public school system can be measured by fi rst computing the poll tax needed to support historic spending. The required poll tax is equal to total expenditure s divided by votes cast. Once the required tax rate is known, the real subsidy can be computed. The real subsidy per enrolled child in a poll tax f inanced public school is computed by subtracting black poll taxes from total expenditure s on black children and dividing by enrolled children. Equations 5,6, and 7 require two additional pieces of information. The number of


7 of 22eligible voters and the participation rate by race. Eligible voters were computed as half the population over 21 years old. Voter participati on rates are averages of participation rates from presidential and gubernatorial elections occurring within each 5 year period reported by Kousser. (Note 25) When no elections ar e reported by Kousser within a 5-year period, participation rates were taken as th ose in the nearest reported election. The voter participation rates in Table 3 sh ow the trends reported by Kousser. The sharp fall in black voter participation reflects th e disenfranchisement of blacks. The mild fall in white voter participation reflects the conv ersion of the South to a one-party system. The increasing required poll tax is caused by two factors. First, spending levels and enrollments increased substantially. More enrolled children and more spending per child, required higher taxes to support the public schools Second, the disenfranchisement of blacks and the reduction in white voter participati on pursuant to conversion of the South to a one party system reduced the number of votes c ast. Fewer votes cast required higher taxes per vote to raise a given amount of revenue. (Note 26) The pattern of real subsidy in a poll tax f inanced public school varied widely from state to state. Two forces reduced the real black s ubsidy; rising white enrollments and increased spending per white child. If total spendi ng on both races is constant, the larger the white portion of enrolled children the less eac h black child would receive. Likewise, the higher white per child expenditures, the lower black per child expenditures. Lower black voter participation increased the black real subsidy. As blacks (and some whites) were steadily disenfranchised, blacks comprised a s maller portion of the voting electorate. The fewer black votes cast relative to total votes cast, the smaller portion of each dollar raised from a poll tax was paid by blac ks. The varying wealth redistribution inherent in a poll tax financed public school syste m was determined by the extent of black disenfranchisement, relative black and white enrollments, and the difference in black and white per capita spending. Measuring the actual real subsidy requires one additional piece of information: the relative importance of the property and poll tax in school financing. If this were known, the real subsidy could be computed. The real subsidy is a weighted average of the subsi dies inherent in property and poll tax financed school systems where the weights are the p ortion of school funds raised from poll and property taxes. Unfortunately, only fragmentary evidence su rvives about the relative importance of poll and property taxes. Table 5 (See Appendix) shows the limited information contained in the Kousser dataset. In Arkansas, Flor ida, Mississippi and Louisiana, property taxes accounted for roughly 80-95% of scho ol revenue. In Virginia and North Carolina, the property tax accounts for roughly 5075% of school revenue. North Carolina was unique in raising a significant portio n of school revenue from an income tax. (Note 27) Combining fragmentary evidence from Table 5 the required poll tax from Table 4 (See Appendix) and evidence on the size of poll taxes indicates poll taxes were a minor source of school funding. Although there has been no comprehensive compilation


8 of 22of actual poll taxes, there is evidence that poll t axes were in the neighborhood of $1 to $2. (Note 28) Since the poll tax required to suppor t all school spending varied between $3.68 and $13.43 from 1890 to 1910 and elections di d not occur every year, the poll tax probably provided less than 25% of school funds. Table 6 (See Appendix) shows the real subsidy computed under a variety of reasonable assumptions about the relative importanc e of property and poll taxes. Two features of the public schools are evident. First, the public schools provided a continuos and substantial net subsidy to blacks. Under reason able assumptions about the relative importance of property and poll taxes and in every state in which the historical record allows computation, whites subsidized black schools (Note 29) The source of the subsidy is the primary source of school funds; the property tax. Because blacks had little property to tax, most school funds were raised from white taxes. Second, racial spending differentials only moderately reduced the white sub sidy of black schools. Although the black subsidy declined steadily from 1885 to 1910, blacks paid roughly 1/2 the value of education received in 1910 compared to roughly 1/3r d in 1885. The size of the black subsidy can be given some perspective by comparing it to black income in 1880. Black per capita income in th e South is 1880 was $41.81. (Note 30) The average subsidy declined from a peak of $1. 38 to $1.82 in 1885 to $1.18 to $1.36 in 1910. This means the average subsidy decli ned from 3.3-4.4% of black per capita income in 1885 to 2.8-3.3% in 1910-a reducti on of 0.5 to 1.1% of black income. While the effect of segregated schools was not triv ial, the magnitude of the reduction in the public school subsidy of blacks, when compared to black income, was quite small. These two results suggest a reconsideration of the literature which has examined the rise of public schools in the South. In the standar d treatment of the progressive movement and education, the public schools are depi cted as "making education available to the common man." (Note 31) Some authors, have ar gued that rather than benefiting the common man, the educational system benefited th e middle class white man. (Note 32) The calculations in this research do not shed m uch light on intra-racial wealth redistribution. However, the calculations do illumi nate the pattern of inter-racial redistribution. The public schools, despite differe nces in the black and white spending per enrolled child, were a conduit for a flow of re sources from white families to black school aged children. The distributional aspects of the public sc hools imply that if the public schools and the taxes which supported them were abolished, whit es could buy more education with moneys saved from abolished taxes than they receive d "free" from the public school system. Conversely, if blacks were forced to buy ed ucation privately from moneys paid in taxes, they would be unable to purchase the same amount of schooling received "free" in the public schools. The southern public school s ystem increased the educational resources of black children while reducing white ed ucational resources. Of course, the public schools redistributed wealth in a more complex pattern than just subsidizing black children with white taxes. A mong whites and blacks there were certainly poor whites and rich blacks whose net flo w of resources from the public schools was different than the "average" white or b lack family. These differences could possibly account for the continued political suppor t for the public schools in a white dominated political process. Given the existing dat a on income distributions, wealth distributions and race, measuring the net flow of r esources between individuals with different income and wealth levels is nearly imposs ible. In addition, expenditures were not equal across urban and rural areas nor were the y equal from county to county within a state. However, the net flow of resources across racial groups is clear. These two results also highlight the peculi ar logic of concentrating attention on equalizing expenditures while ignoring the source o f school funding. One common vision of "social justice" demands that expenditure s on black and white children be equalized. While equalizing expenditures across rac ial groups would increase the net flow of resources to blacks in the South, as the tw o points made here show, this would lead to a larger but still positive net resource fl ow to blacks. It is difficult if not


9 of 22impossible to argue the level of subsidy implied by equal expenditures on black and white children, given the relative reliance on the poll and property tax, the voter participation rates of blacks and whites, and the l evel of black and white taxable property is superior to another level of subsidy implied by different levels of expenditure. In fact, if variations in taxable property and voter partici pation across states and time are considered, equalizing expenditures across race wou ld lead to different levels of net subsidy across states and over time. It is difficul t to see how the particular pattern of subsidy implied by equal expenditures is "best."Conclusion In the first half century following emancip ation, most blacks lived in the South. This resulted from the productivity of slave labor in cotton production and the suitability of the South for growing cotton. In the South, educ ational expenditures were well below those of the North. This was largely the result of lower income in the South (roughly half the level in the North), the hostility of Southerne rs toward government expenditures of any type, and white indifference toward black welfa re. (Note 33) These factors alone meant blacks on average received less public school ing than whites. Within the South, educational funds were al located unevenly among black and white children. Previous research into black public education has concentrated almost solely on this racial differential in southern expe nditures. The racial differential has been used to portray the southern public school system a s one which exploited blacks for the benefit of whites. Bond argued that if the total am ount of taxes available to the public school system was fixed, each dollar taken from bla ck schools was a dollar that could be spent on white schools. (Note 34) Other historians have used racial differentials in school expenditures to argue that the general movem ent toward larger expenditures on public schools did not substantially benefit blacks (Note 35) This article supports a modified condemnati on of Southern public schools. By applying tax rules equally across race and maintain ing and increasing a differential in black/white per pupil expenditures, whites drained resources from black education and enhanced white education. This research measures th e extent of that drain. The effects of racism, hostile institution s, and rigged elections on black education were severe but were not pushed to the reactionary extreme. The public schools were the conduit for a small but significant flow of resourc es from white taxpayers to the average black child. For the average white family, eliminat ing the public schools would have increased the funds available for education. In addition, I have shown that the effect o f segregation and the exclusion of blacks from the political process in the postbellum South may not have been as severe as previously argued. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the wealth redistribution effected by southern public schools was reduced but not eliminated. The net black subsidy was reduced in absolute terms by about one-third. This represented a reduction in average black per capita income of 0.5 % to 1.1%. While the magnitude of this reduction should not be trivialized, it is not as large as some previous accounts have suggested. Given these facts, the condemnation of sout hern public schools in the first 50 years after emancipation requires a slight modification. This article has shown that despite racial differentials in public school expenditure, blacks were net gainers from the establishment of public schooling in the South and whites were net losers. Based on this finding, public schooling in the South should be co nsidered a positive contributing factor to black educational achievement. If expendi tures per pupil across race had been equalized, black public schools could have contribu ted so much more. Notes


10 of 22Morgan Kousser (1980b) and Jonathan Pritchett (1989 ) consider the division of public school moneys in a single state, North Carol ina. Pritchett further restricts his analysis to a single year, 1910. Prior conclusi ons about the racial division of public school moneys have generalized the quantitat ive analysis from a single state and, in the case of Pritchett, a single year to the whole South. Ng (1990) shows that North Carolina is atypical of other southern s tates and that 1910 is atypical of earlier years. In particular, the division of schoo l benefits was more favorable to whites in North Carolina in 1910 than in any other southern state in the postbellum period. 1. Robert Higgs (1977, p. 120). See also Roger Ransom and Richard Sutch (1977, p. 30). 2. Higgs (1977, p. 120). 3. This obstacles facing black progress were at least partially ameliorated by the striking increase in black incomes and welfare foll owing emancipation and the subsequent increase in absolute black incomes. See Ng & Virts (1989, 1993). 4. See Harris (1985) for a study of how white's percep tions of the redistribution of wealth between races affected the division of publi c resources between black and white schools. 5. There is a growing body of literature attempting to determine the effect of educational expenditures on the black/white income differential. See Smith (1984), Orazem (1987), and Margo (1986). Margo (198 7) estimates the effect of equalizing school expenditures on black and white a ttendance rates. 6. Harlan (1958, pp. 10-15), Myrdal (1944, p. 341), Ke y (1949, p. 533), Ransom and Sutch (1977, pp. 23-31), Higgs (1977, p. 11 & 124), Margo (1982, 1984, p. 321), Kousser (1980c pp 23-4 & 43). 7. Higgs (1977, p. 124). 8. Du Bois (1901). 9. Kousser examines the net benefits to blacks from th e public schools in North Carolina, Kousser 1980b. Kousser concludes that whi tes subsidized black schools from 1880 to 1910 but by 1910 the subsidy was insig nificant in North Carolina. Kousser also examines net subsidies in the Richmond public schools, Kousser (1980c pp. 26-27), and argues that whites subsidize d black schools when only expenditures on teachers is examined but if expendi ture figures for buildings and maintenance were available the subsidy would be gre atly reduced or eliminated. On a related point, Kousser argues the tax regime i n North Carolina was regressive when the percentage of wealth paid in ta xes is examined across racial groups, Kousser (1980b, p. 174-76). Recent work on estimating black and white income from the manuscript returns of the 1880 cens us (Ng and Virts 1989a and 1989b) shows average wealth levels do not reliably indicate income levels. While black wealth per capita was 3.5-7.5% of white wealt h, average black worker income was 90% of white worker income. While the No rth Carolina tax system may appear regressive when percentage of wealth pai d in taxes across race and wealth levels is considered, when percentage of inc ome paid in taxes is considered the tax system was probably quite progressive. 10. Ng (1990). 11. See Table 1. 12. Ng & Virts (1989a). 13. See Table 4. 14. See Harris (1985) for a detailed examination of how this was accomplished in the Birmingham school district. 15. The calculations in this article ignore the possibi lity of property taxes being passed from predominantly white property owners to black r enters in the form of higher rents. While this is an important issue which may a lter the wealth redistribution from the public schools computed here, it is also a n intractable measurement 16.


11 of 22problem. Jonathan Pritchett tries to measure the am ount of "pass through" for a single state and year, North Carolina 1910 (chosen presumably because the data for such a calculation are most readily available), and can only conclude that it is "plausible" that blacks' taxes, indirect and direct paid fully for black schools. Of course, his estimates also indicate that it is poss ible that blacks' taxes, direct and indirect, did not pay full for black schools. Pritc hett does not address tax incidence in other states and years nor does he discuss the r epresentativeness of North Carolina. See Pritchett 1989 and, also, Smith 1973. The measurement of indirect taxes is discussed in Ng (1990). In Ng (1990), I al so point out several material errors in Pritchett's methodology which if correcte d would reverse his conclusion. Because property taxes were imposed within small ge ographic areas, it is likely that the little if any of the property tax was pass ed through to renters in the form of higher rents.Fees for various publicly provided goods and servic es, such as transferring title to property, were also a source of school funding, but there is no evidence that the amount raised was significant. See Margo (1985, pp. 71-74) and Kousser (1980a, pp. 400-1). 17. Strong evidence indicates tax rules were applied eq ually. There is little evidence that black and white property was taxed at differen t rates (Higgs, 1984 pp. 778-80). 18. The property numbers are supplemented by data from Margo (1984). 19. To this author's knowledge, this is the first publi shed use of the Kousser dataset. 20. Higgs (1982 & 1984). Margo (1984). 21. Margo (1985). 22. See Anderson (1988, p. 112, 151, 189, & 190) for at tendance rates. 23. This point is made by Thornton (1982) and Bullock ( 1958, p. 53-61). 24. Kousser (1974). 25. Because all eligible voters, not just those who cho se to vote, were legally required to pay poll taxes, it is possible that the assumpti on inherent in equations 5,6, and 7, that only those voting paid poll taxes, is incor rect. However, Kousser writes, "The poll tax limited rather than expanded the suff rage after 1870 because those in power made every effort not to collect the tax from men they deemed undesirable voters. There is no record of prosecution of a poll tax delinquent." Kousser (1974, p. 63). This point is supported by Tipton Snavely ( 1916, p. 41). 26. North Carolina's constitution limited the property tax to 30 cents per $100 of property in the 1890's. Harlan (1958, p. 62). 27. Kousser (1974, p. 6). 28. If 75% of school revenue in Louisiana came from the property tax, Table 6 indicates blacks would have provided a small subsid y to whites. However, Table 5 indicates that more than 90% of school revenue in L ouisiana came from the property tax. 29. Ng and Virts (1989a). 30. See Fishlow (1966a & 1966b). 31. Kousser (1980b). 32. Bullock (1970 p. 47, 56-58). 33. Bond (1970). This argument is repeated by Margo, 19 84 and 1985. 34. Kousser (1980b) and Harlan (1958). 35. Losers in the narrow sense that white expenditures on public education exceeded the value of services received. 36.ReferencesAnderson, James D., The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935 Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988.


12 of 22Bond, Horace Mann, The Education of the Negro in th e American Social Order, New York: Octagon Books, 1970.Bullock, Henry Allen, A History of Negro Education in the South, From 161 9 to the Present New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970. Du Bois, W.E.B., The Negro Common School Atlanta: Atlanta University Publications, 1901.Fishlow, Albert, "Levels of Nineteenth-Century Amer ican Investment in Education," Journal of Economic History December 1966a, 26, 418-436. Fishlow, Albert, "The American Common School Reviva l: Fact or Fancy?" in Industrialization in Two Systems: Essays in Honor o f Alexander Gerschenkron Henry Rosovsky ed., New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1966b.Harlan, Louis R., Separate and Unequal: Public School Campaigns and R acism in the Southern Seaboard States-1901-1915 Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1958.Harris, Carl V., "Stability and Change in Discrimin ation Against Black Public Schools: Birmingham, Alabama, 1871-1931," Journal of Southern History August 1985, 51 no. 3, 375-416.Higgs, Robert, "Accumulation of Property by Souther n Blacks before World War I," American Economic Review September 1982, 72, 725-737. Higgs, Robert, "Accumulation of Property by Souther n Blacks before World War I: Reply," American Economic Review September 1984, 74, 777-81. Higgs, Robert, Competition and Coercion, Blacks in the American Ec onomy, 1865-1914 Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977. Key, V.O., Southern Politics in State and Nation New York:Knopf, 1949. Kousser, J. Morgan, "Making Separate Equal: Integra tion of Black and White Schools in Kentucky," Journal of Interdisciplinary History Winter 1980a, 10, 399-428. Kousser, J. Morgan, "Progressivism-For Middle Class Whites Only: North Carolina Education, 1880-1915," Journal of Southern History May 1980b, 46, 169-94. Kousser, J. Morgan, "Separate but not Equal: The Supreme Court's First Decision on Racial Discrimination in Schools," Journal of Southern History February 1980c, 46, 17-44.Kousser, J. Morgan, The Shaping of Southern Politics, Suffrage Restrict ions and the Establishment of the One Party South, 1880-1910 New Haven:Yale University Press, 1974.Margo, Robert A., "Accounting for Racial Difference s in School Attendance in the American South, 1900: The Role of Separate-but-Equa l," Review of Economics and Statistics November 1987, 69, pp. 661-666. Margo, Robert A., "Educational Achievement in Segre gated School Systems: The Effects of 'Separate but Equal,'" American Economic Review September 1986, 74, pp. 794-801.


13 of 22Margo, Robert A., "Race Differences in Public Schoo l Expenditures: Disenfranchisement and School Finance in Louisiana, 1890-1910," Social Science History Winter 1982, 6, 9-34. Margo, Robert A., "Teacher Salaries in Black and Wh ite: The South in 1910," Explorations in Economic History July 1984, 3, 306-326. Margo, Robert A., "Accumulation of Property by Sout hern Blacks before World War I: Comment and Further Evidence," American Economic Review September 1984, 74, 768-76.Margo, Robert A., Disenfranchisement, School Finance, and the Economi cs of Segregated Schools in the United States South, 1890 -1910 New York: Garland Publishing, 1985.Myrdal, Gunner, An American Dilemma:The Negro Problem and Modern De mocracy New York:Harper & Row, 1944.Ng, Kenneth, "The Burden of Negro Schooling Reconsi dered," unpublished manuscript, 1990.Ng, Kenneth and Nancy Virts, "Black Income in 1880, forthcoming Agricultural History Winter 1993. Ng, Kenneth and Nancy Virts, "The Value of Freedom, Journal of Economic History Dec. 1989b.Orazem, Peter F., "Black-White Differences in Schoo ling Investment and Human Capital Production in Segregated Schools," American Economic Review Sept. 1987, 77, pp. 714-23.Pritchett, Jonathan, "The Burden of Negro Schooling : Tax Incidence and Racial Redistribution in Postbellum North Carolina," Journal of Economic History December 1989, 49, pp. 966-973.Ransom, Roger and Richard Sutch, One Kind of Freedom, The Economic Consequences of Emancipation Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977. Smith, James, "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review 74, September 1984, pp. 685-98.Smith, Richard Kent, The Economics of Education and Discrimination in th e U.S. South: 1870-1910 1973, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin Snavely, Tipton Ray, The Taxation of Negroes in Virginia Charlottesville: University of Virginia Phelps-Stokes Fellowship Papers, 1916.Thornton III, J. Mills, "Fiscal Policy and the Fail ure of Radical Reconstruction in the Lower South," in Race, Region, and Reconstruction: Essays in Honor o f C. Vann Woodward J. Morgan Kousser and James M. McPherson eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982, 349-394.About the AuthorKenneth Ng


14 of 22Department of EconomicsCalifornia State University-NorthridgeNorthridge, CA Table 1 Population and Real and Total Per Capita Property b y Race


15 of 22 Return to text Table 2 Enrollment and Total Real Per Capita Expenditures o n Teacher's Salaries by Race (1880 Prices)


16 of 22 Return to text Table 3 Required Tax Rate and Real Net Subsidy per Enrolled Child Inherent in a Property Tax Financed Public School System (1880 prices)


17 of 22 Return to text Table 4 Voter Participation Rates, Real Poll Tax Required p er Enrolled Child, and Real Subsidy Inherent in Financing the Public with Poll Taxes (1880 prices)


18 of 22 Return to text Table 5 Sources of School Financing (1880 prices)


19 of 22 Return to text Table 6 Real Net Subsidy per Enrolled Child in the Public S chools


20 of 22 Return to text Copyright 2001 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is


21 of 22General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 8 5287-0211. (602-965-9644). The Commentary Editor is Casey D. C obb: .EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin Greg Camilli Rutgers University John Covaleskie Northern Michigan University Alan Davis University of Colorado, Denver Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Richard Garlikov Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Alison I. Griffith York University Arlen Gullickson Western Michigan University Ernest R. House University of Colorado Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Calgary Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs-Pugh Green Mountain College Dewayne Matthews Western Interstate Commission for HigherEducation William McInerney Purdue University Mary McKeown-Moak MGT of America (Austin, TX) Les McLean University of Toronto Susan Bobbitt Nolen University of Washington Anne L. Pemberton Hugh G. Petrie SUNY Buffalo Richard C. Richardson New York University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Dennis Sayers Ann Leavenworth Centerfor Accelerated Learning Jay D. Scribner University of Texas at Austin Michael Scriven Robert E. Stake University of Illinois—UC Robert Stonehill U.S. Department of Education David D. Williams Brigham Young UniversityEPAA Spanish Language Editorial BoardAssociate Editor for Spanish Language Roberto Rodrguez Gmez Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico


22 of 22 Adrin Acosta (Mxico) Universidad de J. Flix Angulo Rasco (Spain) Universidad de Teresa Bracho (Mxico) Centro de Investigacin y DocenciaEconmica-CIDEbracho Alejandro Canales (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma Ursula Casanova (U.S.A.) Arizona State Jos Contreras Domingo Universitat de Barcelona Erwin Epstein (U.S.A.) Loyola University of Josu Gonzlez (U.S.A.) Arizona State Rollin Kent (Mxico)Departamento de InvestigacinEducativa-DIE/ Mara Beatriz Luce (Brazil)Universidad Federal de Rio Grande do Sul-UFRGSlucemb@orion.ufrgs.brJavier Mendoza Rojas (Mxico)Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicojaviermr@servidor.unam.mxMarcela Mollis (Argentina)Universidad de Buenos Humberto Muoz Garca (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicohumberto@servidor.unam.mxAngel Ignacio Prez Gmez (Spain)Universidad de Daniel Schugurensky (Argentina-Canad)OISE/UT, Simon Schwartzman (Brazil)Fundao Instituto Brasileiro e Geografiae Estatstica Jurjo Torres Santom (Spain)Universidad de A Carlos Alberto Torres (U.S.A.)University of California, Los


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