Howard Bodenhorn

Howard Bodenhorn

Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Economics

Competition: US & Canada

Lafayette College

Howard Bodenhorn is a professor in the John E. Walker Department of Economics at Clemson University, an appointment he took up in 2008.  Previously he taught at Lafayette College, joining that institution as an assistant professor of economics in 1993; he was promoted to professor in 2004.  He is concurrently a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a position he has held since 2001.  Mr. Bodenhorn has also held visiting positions at St. Lawrence University (1990-93) and Yale (2006-07).

Initially, his studies centered around early American banking and financial markets. In 1993, just three years after receiving his Ph.D. from Rutgers University, his article "Capital Mobility and Financial Integration in Antebellum America," published in the Journal of Economic History , received the Arthur H. Cole Award for the best article published in that journal between September 1992 and June 1993. With the support of a Junior Faculty Fellowship from the John N. Olin Foundation in 1995-96, he produced a lengthy monograph exploring the connection between finance and economic development in the early nineteenth-century America, an extract from which was published by Cambridge University Press as A History of Banking in Antebellum America: Financial Markets and Economic Development in an Age of Nation Building  (2000). Building on this work, he also wrote State Banking in Early America: A New Economic History (Oxford UP, 2003).

When he discovered in the Library of Virginia a cache of previously untapped materials on the condition of antebellum free blacks in Virginia, his researches took a new turn. With funding over a period of eight years from a wide range of sources–the Earhart Foundation (2000-01), the O’Shaughnessy Irish Research Fund (2001-02), the National Science Foundation (2001-04, 2004-05), and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (2006-08)–Mr. Bodenhorn investigated many aspects of the lives of antebellum African Americans, providing a theretofore unavailable detailed understanding of their health, wealth, employment, marriage patterns, and so forth.  He set out his findings in a number of articles, including "A Troublesome Caste: Height and Nutrition of Antebellum Virginia’s Rural Free Blacks," published in the Journal of Economic History (vol. 59, no. 4, 1999), and "Colorism, Complexion Homogamy and Household Wealth: Some Historical Evidence," which appeared in the American Economic Review (vol. 96, no. 2, 2006).

During his Guggenheim term, Howard Bodenhorn will be studying the political economy of Jacksonian New York.

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