Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Wages, Prices, and Labor Markets Before the Civil War

Contents:

Author Info

  • Claudia Goldin
  • Robert A. Margo

Abstract

Two opposing views of the antebellum economy are tested. One is that aggregate economic activity was severely diminished and that unemployment was substantial and prolonged during several downturns. The alternative interpretation is that antebellum fluctuations were more apparent than real; nominal wages, not labor quantities, did most of the adjusting. We analyze data on real wages for laborers, artisans, and clerks across four regions (Northeast, North Central, South Atlantic, and South Central) during 1821 to 1856. Various time-series econometric methods reveal that shocks to real wages persisted even five years after an innovation, but that their impact eventually vanished. The persistence of shocks was less for agricultural labor than for other occupations, less for growing regions than for more mature ones, less for unskilled than for skilled labor, and probably less before 1860 than after. Although nominal wages and prices never strayed far from each other over the long run, the persistence of shocks was considerable during the 1821 to 1856 period. We, therefore, find evidence to support the first view of the antebellum economy, although the degree of unemployment in cities and industrial towns remains unknown.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3198.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3198.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Dec 1989
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Goldin, Claudia A. and Hugh Rockoff, eds., Strategic Factors in Nineteenth Century American Economic History, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press , 1992, pp. 67-104.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3198

Note: DAE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Email:
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

References

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Matthew J. Slaughter, 1995. "The Antebellum Transportation Revolution and Factor-Price Convergence," NBER Working Papers 5303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Grace, Martin & Hotchkiss, Julie L., 1995. "External impacts on the property-liability insurance cycle," MPRA Paper 9825, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Ulrich Woitek, 1998. "Height Cycles in the 18th and 19th Centuries," Working Papers 9811, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  4. Robert A. Margo, 1999. "The History of Wage Inequality in America, 1820 to 1970," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_286, Levy Economics Institute.
  5. Robert A. Margo, 2000. "The History of Wage Inequality in America, 1920 to 1970," Macroeconomics 0004035, EconWPA.
  6. Margo, Robert A., 1999. "Regional Wage Gaps and the Settlement of the Midwest," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 128-143, April.
  7. Komlos, John, 2012. "A Three-Decade “Kuhnian” History of the Antebellum Puzzle: Explaining the shrinking of the US population at the onset of modern economic growth," Discussion Papers in Economics 12758, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Cormac Ó Gráda & Eugene N White, 2002. "Who Panics during Panics? Evidence from a Nineteenth Century Bank," Working Papers 200212, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  9. Chulhee Lee, 2003. "Health and Wealth Accumulation: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century America," NBER Working Papers 10035, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Komlos, John & Coclanis, Peter, 1997. "On the Puzzling Cycle in the Biological Standard of Living: The Case of Antebellum Georgia," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 433-459, October.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3198. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.