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Births, Deaths, and New Deal Relief during the Great Depression

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Author Info

  • Price V. Fishback

    (Fishback is Frank and Clara Kramer Professor of Economics at the University of Arizona and is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Michael R. Haines

    (Haines is Banfi Vintners Distinguished Professor of Economics at Colgate University and is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Shawn Kantor

    (Kantor is Professor of Economics at the University of California, Merced and is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research)

Abstract

The article examines the impact of New Deal relief programs on infant mortality, non-infant mortality, and general fertility rates in major U.S. cities between 1929 and 1940. Effects are estimated using a variety of specifications and techniques for a panel of 114 cities that reported information on relief spending between 1929 and 1940. The significant rise in relief spending during the New Deal contributed to reductions in infant mortality, suicide rates, and some other causes of death, while contributing to increases in the general fertility rate. Similar to Ruhm's (2000) findings for the modern United States, the article finds that many types of death rates were pro-cyclical during the 1930s. Estimates of the relief costs associated with saving a life (adjusted for inflation) are similar to those found in studies of modern social insurance programs. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/rest.89.1.1
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 89 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 1-14

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:89:y:2007:i:1:p:1-14

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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References

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  1. Rebecca Blank, 1995. "Teen pregnancy: government programs are not the cause," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 47-58.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Price Fishback, 2010. "US monetary and fiscal policy in the 1930s," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 385-413, Autumn.
  2. Leah Platt Boustan & Price V. Fishback & Shawn Kantor, 2010. "The Effect of Internal Migration on Local Labor Markets:American Cities during the Great Depression," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 719-746, October.
  3. Barreca, Alan I. & Fishback, Price V. & Kantor, Shawn, 2012. "Agricultural policy, migration, and malaria in the United States in the 1930s," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 381-398.
  4. Kantor, Shawn & Fishback, Price V. & Wallis, John Joseph, 2013. "Did the New Deal solidify the 1932 Democratic realignment?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 620-633.
  5. Jonathan F. Fox & Mikko Myrskylä, 2011. "Urban fertility responses to local government programs: evidence from the 1923-1932 U.S," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2011-018, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  6. Alan Barreca & Price V. Fishback & Shawn Kantor, 2011. "Agricultural Policy, Migration, and Malaria in the 1930s United States," NBER Working Papers 17526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2013. "Recessions, Healthy No More?," NBER Working Papers 19287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Price V. Fishback, 2012. "Relief During the Great Depression in Australia and America," CEH Discussion Papers 005, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  9. Andreea Balan-Cohen, 2008. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? The Impact of the Old Age Assistance Program on Elderly Mortality in the United States," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0719, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  10. Joseph P. Ferrie & Karen Rolf, 2011. "Socioeconomic Status in Childhood and Health After Age 70: A New Longitudinal Analysis for the U.S., 1895-2005," NBER Working Papers 17016, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Price V. Fishback & Werner Troesken & Trevor Kollmann & Michael Haines & Paul W. Rhode & Melissa Thomasson, 2011. "Information and the Impact of Climate and Weather on Mortality Rates During the Great Depression," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Climate Change: Adaptations Past and Present, pages 131-167 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Adrian Stoian & Price V. Fishback, 2009. "Welfare Spending and Mortality Rates for the Elderly Before the Social Security Era," NBER Working Papers 14970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Leonard, Jonathan & Mas, Alexandre, 2008. "Welfare reform, time limits, and infant health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1551-1566, December.
  14. Marianne Bitler & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "Welfare Reform and Indirect Impacts on Health," NBER Working Papers 12642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Ryan S. Johnson & Shawn Kantor & Price V. Fishback, 2007. "Striking at the Roots of Crime: The Impact of Social Welfare Spending on Crime During the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 12825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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