Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sawers on Race and the Closed Range after Emancipation

Brian Sawers, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, has posted The Right to Exclude after Emancipation: A Quantitative Study.  Here is the abstract:
During the nineteenth century, the landowner's right to exclude expanded while the public's rights contracted. Landowners gained the right to exclude roaming livestock and wandering hunters with the closing of the open range. In theory, expanding the autonomy of private owners allows them to make more efficient use of their land. Empirical validation, however, is limited since only a handful of studies have examined the closing of the range. In the South, the first counties to close with those with the largest black populations. If the range remained open, blacks could graze their animals, hunt, fish, and forage on the open range; if the range were closed, blacks would have no alternative to sharecropping. This Article examines the closing of the range and restrictions on hunting in the postwar South using previously unexamined data. Preliminary results suggest that labor control, not economic efficiency, motivated the closing of the range.
Hat tip.