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Migration Creation, Diversion, and Retention: New Deal Grants and Migration: 1935-1940

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  • Sorensen, Todd A.

    ()
    (University of California, Riverside)

  • Fishback, Price

    ()
    (University of Arizona)

  • Allen, Samuel K.

    ()
    (Virginia Military Institute)

  • Kantor, Shawn

    ()
    (University of California, Merced)

Abstract

During the 1930s the federal government embarked upon an ambitious series of grant programs designed to counteract the Great Depression. Public works and relief programs combated unemployment by hiring workers and building social overhead capital while the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) sought to raise farm incomes by paying farmers not to produce. The amounts distributed varied widely across the country and potentially contributed to population shifts. We examine the extent to which New Deal spending affected domestic migration patterns in the second half of the 1930s. We estimate an aggregate discrete choice model, in which household heads choose among 466 economic subregions. The structural model allows us to decompose the effects of program spending on migration into three categories: the effect of spending on keeping households in their origin (retention), the effect of pulling non-migrants out of their origin (creation), and the effect of causing migrants to substitute away from an alternative destination (diversion). An additional dollar of public works and relief spending increased net migration into an area primarily by retaining the existing population and creating new migration into the county. Only a small share of the increase in net migration rate was caused by diversion of people who had already chosen to migrate. AAA spending contributed to net out migration, primarily by creating new out migrants and repelling potential in migrants. A counterfactual analysis that examines what would have happened had there been no New Deal spending during the 1930s suggests that the uneven distribution of New Deal public works and relief spending explains about twelve percent of the internal migration flows in the United States between 1935 and 1940. The uneven distribution of AAA spending accounted for about one percent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3060.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3060

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Keywords: migration; New Deal; discrete choice;

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References

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  1. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
  2. Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 1999. "An empirical analysis of the welfare magnet debate using the NLSY," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 391-409.
  3. Price V. Fishback & Shawn Kantor & John Joseph Wallis, 2002. "Can the New Deal's Three R's Be Rehabilitated? A Program-by-Program, County-by-County Analysis," NBER Working Papers 8903, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Blank, Rebecca M., 1988. "The effect of welfare and wage levels on the location decisions of female-headed households," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 186-211, September.
  5. Fleck, Robert K, 2001. " Inter-party Competition, Intra-party Competition, and Distributive Policy: A Model and Test Using New Deal Data," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 108(1-2), pages 77-100, July.
  6. Schaefer, Donald F., 1989. "Locational Choice in the Antebellum South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(01), pages 145-165, March.
  7. Jim F. Couch & Keith E. Atkinson & William H. Wells, 1998. "New Deal Agricultural Appropriations: A Political Influence," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 137-148, Spring.
  8. Fishback, Price V. & Horrace, William C. & Kantor, Shawn, 2006. "The impact of New Deal expenditures on mobility during the Great Depression," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 179-222, April.
  9. Cragg, Michael & Kahn, Matthew, 1997. "New Estimates of Climate Demand: Evidence from Location Choice," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 261-284, September.
  10. Fishback, Price V. & Haines, Michael R. & Kantor, Shawn, 2001. "The Impact of the New Deal on Black and White Infant Mortality in the South," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 93-122, January.
  11. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
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  16. J. F. Couch & P. M. Williams, 1999. "New Deal or Same Old Shuffle? The Distribution of New Deal Dollars Across Alabama," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(2), pages 213-223, 07.
  17. Marilyn Young & Michael Reksulak & William F. Shughart, 2001. "The Political Economy of the IRS," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 201-220, 07.
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  20. Wallis, John Joseph, 1987. "Employment, Politics, and Economic Recovery during the Great Depression," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(3), pages 516-20, August.
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  23. Fleck, Robert K, 1999. "The Value of the Vote: A Model and Test of the Effects of Turnout on Distributive Policy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(4), pages 609-23, October.
  24. Edward M. Gramlich & Deborah S. Laren, 1984. "Migration and Income Redistribution Responsibilities," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(4), pages 489-511.
  25. Cardell, N. Scott, 1997. "Variance Components Structures for the Extreme-Value and Logistic Distributions with Application to Models of Heterogeneity," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 185-213, April.
  26. John J. Wallis & Price V. Fishback & Shawn E. Kantor, 2006. "Politics, Relief, and Reform. Roosevelt’s Efforts to Control Corruption and Political Manipulation during the New Deal," NBER Chapters, in: Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America's Economic History, pages 343-372 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Andries Brandsma & d’Artis Kancs & Damiaan Persyn, 2013. "Modelling Migration and Regional Labour Markets: An Application of the New Economic Geography Model RHOMOLO," JRC-IPTS Working Papers JRC80825, Institute for Prospective and Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre.
  2. Canaday, Neil & Jaremski, Matthew, 2012. "Legacy, location, and labor: Accounting for racial differences in postbellum cotton production," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 291-302.

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