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

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  • Todd Sorensen
  • Price V. Fishback
  • Samuel Allen
  • Shawn E. Kantor

Abstract

During the 1930s the federal government embarked upon an ambitious series of grant programs designed to counteract the Great Depression. The amounts distributed varied widely across the country and potentially contributed to population shifts. 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 suggests that the uneven distribution of New Deal spending explains about twelve percent of the internal migration flows in the United States between 1935 and 1940.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13491.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13491

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Cited by:
  1. Persyn, Damiaan & Brandsma, Andries & Kancs, d’Artis, 2014. "Modelling Migration and Regional Labour Markets: an Application of the New Economic Geography Model RHOMOLO," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 29, pages 372-407.
  2. D'Artis Kancs & Enrique Lopez-Bazo & Fabio Manca & Damiaan Persyn, 2012. "Modelling Migration and Regional Labour Markets: An Application of New Economic Geography Model Rhomolo," ERSA conference papers ersa12p808, European Regional Science Association.
  3. 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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