Dartmouth Events

Lecture on Inequality, Discrimination, and Opportunity

“The Legacy of Southern Racism on Current Economic and Political Outcomes of Black Americans” - Jhacova Williams, American University

Monday, April 15, 2024
5:00pm – 6:00pm
Filene Auditorium, Moore Building
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Lectures & Seminars

The Department of Economics is pleased to sponsor this lecture series to deepen Dartmouth students' understanding of the role of inequality, discrimination, and opportunity in society and to highlight how economics can increase our understanding of these phenomena and inform policy responses.

“The Legacy of Southern Racism on Current Economic and Political Outcomes of Black Americans”


Can racist events in the past be linked to outcomes today? This presentation will show that racial animus, displayed by violent acts, is a quantifiable phenomenon. Specifically, we will show that economic models can be used to estimate the immediate and lasting impact that racially violent acts had on the political and economic outcomes of Black individuals in the South. For instance, historically, one of the reasons that lynchings occurred was to discourage Black individuals from voting. We will discuss findings that show that in areas where the Conservative party lost a close election, lynchings of Black victims were nearly twice as likely to occur. Indicating elite influence, these losses simultaneously precipitated a rise in Black crime allegations in local Conservative-affiliated newspapers. Additionally, we will discuss findings that show that Black individuals who currently reside in southern counties that experienced a relatively higher number of historical lynchings have lower voter registration rates today.

Jhacova Williams is an applied microeconomist focusing primarily on economic history and cultural economics. Her previous work has examined Southern culture and the extent to which historical events have impacted the political behavior and economic outcomes of Southern Black Americans. Recent examples include historical lynchings and the political participation of Blacks; and Confederate symbols and Black-White labor market differentials. She has also done a series of projects investigating the role of structural racism in shaping racial economic disparities in labor markets. Williams received a B.S. in mathematics from Xavier University of Louisiana, a M.S. in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Ph.D. in economics from Louisiana State University. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at American University and worked at Xavier University of Louisiana, Clemson University, the Economic Policy Institute, and RAND Corporation before joining the faculty at American University.

Co-Sponsored with:  Sadie Alexander Association


For more information, contact:
Kristine Timlake

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.