Hatred and Profits: Getting Under the Hood of the Ku Klux Klan
That is the title of my latest academic working paper, written with Roland Fryer. It details the rise and fall of the Klan in the 1920s. Incredibly, the Klan had millions of members at that time, and most of them were reasonably well-educated. Based on a variety of data sources, we argue that, despite its size and education levels, the group nevertheless had little measurable impact on society or politics. It was, however, an incredible engine for generating profits for Klan leaders.
More effort went into this paper, I believe, than any other paper I have ever written. Roland and I started this project five years ago and I wouldn’t be surprised if 10,000 hours were invested in it since then.