A Forensic Economics Approach to Reparations


Author/Creator ORCID




Finance and Economics


Finance and Economics

Citation of Original Publication

Morse, J. N. (2019). A Forensic Economics Approach to Reparations. Journal of Accounting and Finance, 19(2). https://doi.org/10.33423/jaf.v19i2.1395


Public Domain Mark 1.0


House of Representatives, 113th Congress Bill 401, introduced on January 6, 2015, by Representative John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, suggests that reparations should be paid to descendants of people who were enslaved in the United States and its predecessors between 1619 and 1865. The bill is conceptual and political but short on the details of reparation amounts and eligibility. The Official Title, as introduced to the House of Representatives reads “To address the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, it's subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African- Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.” The spirit of the bill is captured by Section 3, Paragraph B.1.D “the treatment of African slaves in the colonies and the United States, including the deprivation of their freedom, exploitation of their labor, and destruction of their culture, language, religion, and families.” I propose a very preliminary conceptual model that may be useful in addressing the reparations issue. The model relies on a standard forensic economics framework utilized in U.S. courts.