DP16739 The Other Great Migration: Southern Whites and the New Right

Author(s): Samuel Bazzi, Andreas Ferrara, Martin Fiszbein, Thomas Pearson, Patrick Testa
Publication Date: November 2021
Date Revised: June 2022
Keyword(s): cultural transmission, Ideology, migration, Political Preferences, U.S. South
JEL(s): D72, J15, J18, N32, P16
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Economic History, Political Economy
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16739

This paper shows how the migration of millions of Southern whites in the 20th century transformed the cultural and political landscape across America. Racially and religiously conservative, Southern white migrants created new electoral possibilities for a broad-based coalition with economic conservatives. With considerable geographic scope, these migrants hastened partisan realignment through the 1960s, helping to catalyze and sustain a New Right movement with national influence. More than just a novel voting bloc outside the South, they shaped institutions that reinforced racial sorting across space, shared ideology through religious organizations and popular media, and transmitted cultural norms to non-Southern populations. Together, our findings suggest that this other Great Migration may have forever changed the trajectory of American politics.