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The Labor Force Participation of Older Americans in 1900: Further Results

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  • Robert A. Margo

Abstract

Data from the public use sample of the 1900 census are used to study the proper labor force classification of older male Americans experiencing 6 months or more of unemployment in the previous year ("long-term unemployed"). In terms of their personal characteristics, the long-term unemployed were similar in many respects to persons with a gainful occupation. Because the probability of re-employment, conditional on unemployment, appears to have declined with age, the probability of experiencing long-term unemployment rose as persons aged. Census data are consistent with the view that the older an individual was upon entering the status of long-term unemployment, the greater the likelihood the person would leave the labor force in a short period of time. I conclude, however, that this is insufficient reason to exclude the long-term unemployed from the count of gainful workers in 1900, as has recently been advocated.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Historical Working Papers with number 0027.

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Date of creation: Jul 1991
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Publication status: published as Explorations in Economic History, vol 30, October 1993: p. 409-423
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0027

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  1. Christopher J. Flinn & James J. Heckman, 1982. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," NBER Working Papers 0979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Joseph F. Quinn & Richard V. Burkhauser & Daniel A. Myers, 1990. "Passing the Torch: The Influence of Economic Incentives on Work and Retirement," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number pt.
  3. Margo, Robert A., 1990. "The incidence and duration of unemployment : Some long-term comparisons," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 217-220, March.
  4. Moen, Jon, 1987. "The Labor of Older Men: A Comment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(03), pages 761-767, September.
  5. Thomas S. Coleman, 1989. "Unemployment Behavior: Evidence from the CPS Work Experience Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(1), pages 1-38.
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Cited by:
  1. Lee, Chulhee, 1999. "Farm Value and Retirement of Farm Owners in Early-Twentieth-Century America," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 387-408, October.
  2. Chen Song & Louis Nguyen, 2003. "The Effect of Hernias on the Labor Force Participation of Union Army Veterans," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life Cycle: Evidence from the Past, pages 253-310 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Chulhee Lee, 2009. "Technological Changes and Employment of Older Manufacturing Workers in Early Twentieth Century America," NBER Working Papers 14746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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