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Did Big Government's Largesse Help the Locals? The Implications of WWII Spending for Local Economic Activity, 1939-1958

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  • Joseph Cullen
  • Price V. Fishback

Abstract

Studies of the development of local economies often point to large-scale World War II military spending as a source of long-term economic growth, even though the spending declined sharply after the demobilization. We examine the longer term impact of the temporary war spending on county economies using a variety of measures of socioeconomic activity: including per capita retail sales, the extent of manufacturing, population growth, the share of women in the work force, housing values and ownership, and per capita savings over the period 1940-1950. We find that in the longer term counties receiving more war spending per capita during the war experienced extensive growth due to increases in population but not intensive growth, as the war spending had very small impacts on per capita measures of economic activity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12801.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12801

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Cited by:
  1. Price V. Fishback & Valentina Kachanovskaya, 2010. "In Search of the Multiplier for Federal Spending in the States During the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 16561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Giavazzi, Francesco & McMahon, Michael, 2012. "The Household Effects of Government Spending," CEPR Discussion Papers 8846, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Francesco Giavazzi & Michael McMahon, 2012. "The Households Effects of Government Consumption," NBER Working Papers 17837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Valerie A. Ramey, 2009. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's All in the Timing," NBER Working Papers 15464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Yamarik Steven J & Johnson Noel D & Compton Ryan A, 2010. "War! What Is It Good For? A Deep Determinants Analysis of the Cost of Interstate Conflict," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 1-35, September.

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  1. Historical Economic Geography

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