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Three-and-a-Half Million U.S. Employees Have Been Mislaid: Or, an Explanation of Unemployment, 1934-1941

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  • Darby, Michael R

Abstract

A major conceptual error in the standard BLS and Lebergott unemployment estimates for 1933-1943 is reported. Emergency workers (employees of federal contracyclical programs such as WPA) were counted as unemployed on a normal-jobs-to-be-created instead of job-seekers unemployment definition. For 1934-1941, the corrected unemployment levels are reduced by two to three-and-a half million people and the rates by 4 to 7 percentage points. The corrected data show strong movement toward the natural unemployment rate after 1933 and are very well explained by an anticipations-search model using annual full-time earnings.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 84 (1976)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 1-16

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:84:y:1976:i:1:p:1-16

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  1. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Real Wages, Employment, and Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 721-54, Sept./Oct.
  2. Gordon, Robert J, 1969. "$45 Billion of U.S. Private Investment Has Been Mislaid," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 221-38, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Price V. Fishback & Samuel Allen & Jonathan Fox & Brendan Livingston, 2010. "A Patchwork Safety Net: A Survey of Cliometric Studies of Income Maintenance Programs in the United States in the First Half of the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 15696, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. J. Huston McCulloch, 1977. "Misintermediation and Business Fluctuation," NBER Working Papers 0160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Gerben Bakker, 2009. "Time and productivity growth in services: how motion pictures industrialized entertainment," Economic History Working Papers 27866, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.

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