Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Cultural persistence as behavior towards risk: evidence from the North Carolina Cherokees, 1850-1880

Gregg, Matthew T. (2009): Cultural persistence as behavior towards risk: evidence from the North Carolina Cherokees, 1850-1880. Published in: Journal of Income Distribution , Vol. 18, No. 2 (June 2009): pp. 3-15.

[img]
Preview
PDF
MPRA_paper_33915.pdf

Download (146kB) | Preview

Abstract

Can economic theory help explain the persistence of a cultural enclave among the Cherokee Indians living in North Carolina during the nineteenth century? To date, Fogelson and Kutsche (1961) and Finger (1984) identify the continuation of a communal, labor-sharing agricultural institution called the gadugi as simply an example of Cherokee agency during a period of substantial upheaval. I contribute to the historiography on ancestral labor traditions by adopting Kimball's (1988) framework on the function of farming cooperatives to test whether this arrangement sprung up as a form of insurance against the idiosyncratic risk inherent in southern agriculture. Data collected from the 1850-1880 manuscript census returns on North Carolina Cherokee farms are used to compute the variance of household self-sufficiency, which appears substantial enough to warrant a non-market mechanism to pool risk.

UB_LMU-Logo
MPRA is a RePEc service hosted by
the Munich University Library in Germany.