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Employer Recruitment and the Integration of Industrial Labor Markets 1870-1914

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  • Joshua L. Rosenbloom

Abstract

The substantial shifts in the sectoral and geographic location of economic activity that took place in the late nineteenth-century United States required the reallocation of large quantities of labor. This paper examines the response of labor market institutions to the challenges of unbalanced growth. Based on previously unexploited descriptive evidence from the reports of the Immigration Commission it argues that employer recruitment was crucial to the adjustment of labor markets to shifting patterns of supply and demand. Because individual employers could capture only a fraction of the benefits of recruitment, however, investment in this activity may have been less than would have been socially optimal, suggesting a possible explanation for the persistence of large geographic wage differentials.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Historical Working Papers with number 0053.

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Date of creation: Jan 1994
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Publication status: published as revised, "Looking for Work, Searching for Workers: U.S. Labor Markets afterthe Civil War," Social Science History, vol. 18, no. 3, (fall 1994)pp. 377-403
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0053

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  1. Rosenbloom, Joshua L., 1990. "One Market or Many? Labor Market Integration in the Late Nineteenth-Century United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(01), pages 85-107, March.
  2. Snowden, Kenneth A., 1987. "Mortgage Rates and American Capital Market Development in the Late Nineteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(03), pages 671-691, September.
  3. Rosenbloom, Joshua L., 1990. "Labor Market Institutions and the Geographic Integration of Labor Markets in the Late Nineteenth-Century United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(02), pages 440-441, June.
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