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Costa, D., Kahn, M. (2003). Cowards and Heroes: Group Loyalty in the American Civil War. Quarterly Journal of Economics. 118 (2): 519-548

What motivated men to risk death in the most horrific war in U.S. history when pay was low and irregular and military punishment strategies were weak? In such a situation creating group loyalty by promoting social capital is of paramount importance and in the CivilWarwas the cement of both armies. We find that individual and company socio-economic and demographic characteristics, ideology, and morale were important predictors of group loyalty in the Union Army. Company characteristics were more important than ideology or morale. Soldiers in companies that were more homogeneous in ethnicity, occupation, and age were less likely to shirk.

Authors

Costa, Dora

Dora Costa is Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics of the University of California Los Angeles.

Kahn, Matthew

Matthew E. Kahn is a Professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment, the Department of Economics, and the Department of Public Policy. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Before joining the UCLA faculty in January 2007, he taught at Columbia and the...

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