The extension of the franchise to former slaves in the post-Civil War American South provides a unique case to study the fiscal consequences of democratization. Black suffrage was not determined internally but was a consequence of military defeat and externally enforced by the U.S. Army during Reconstruction. We employ a triple-difference model to estimate the joint impact of enfranchisement and federal enforcement on taxation. We find that occupied counties where black voters comprised larger shares of the electorate levied higher taxes compared to similar non-occupied counties. These counties then experienced a comparatively greater decline in fiscal revenues in the decades following the end of Reconstruction. We also demonstrate that in these occupied counties, black politicians were more likely to be elected, and political murders by white supremacist groups were less likely. These findings provide evidence on the key role of federal troops in limiting political capture by Southern elites.
Mario Leonardo Chacón is currently an Assistant Professor of Politics at the New York University Abu Dhabi and faculty fellow of the Politics Department at NYU, NYC. He studies comparative political economy, political development, and armed conflict, particularly in Latin America and the US. He has published on the stability of democracy and on economic determinants of civil wars. Currently, Chacon is working on the rise of armed clientelism in Colombia as a result of the ongoing civil war, as well as the long-lasting effects of civil wars. He obtained a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University and a M.A. in Economics from Los Andes University in Colombia.