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Employment and Unemployment in the 1930s

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  • Robert A. Margo

Abstract

Recent research on labor markets in the 1930s has shifted attention from aggregate to disaggregate time series and towards microeconomic evidence. The paper begins by reviewing the conventional statistics of the United States labor market during the Great Depression and the paradigms to explain them. It then turns to recent studies of employment and unemployment using disaggregated data of various types. The paper concludes with discussions of research on other aspects of labor markets in the 1930s and on a promising source of microdata for future work.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert A. Margo, 1993. "Employment and Unemployment in the 1930s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 41-59, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:7:y:1993:i:2:p:41-59
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.7.2.41
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.7.2.41
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sundstrom, William A., 1992. "Last Hired, First Fired? Unemployment and Urban Black Workers During the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 415-429, June.
    2. Claudia Goldin & Robert A. Margo, 1992. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid-Century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 1-34.
    3. repec:hrv:faseco:30703979 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Whatley, Warren C., 1983. "Labor for the Picking: the New Deal in the South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(4), pages 905-929, December.
    5. Simon, Curtis J & Nardinelli, Clark, 1992. "Does Industrial Diversity Always Reduce Unemployment? Evidence from the Great Depression and After," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(2), pages 384-397, April.
    6. Smiley, Gene, 1983. "Recent Unemployment Rate Estimates for the 1920s and 1930s," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(02), pages 487-493, June.
    7. De Long, James Bradford & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "Is Increased Price Flexibility Stabilizing?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1031-1044, December.
    8. Bernanke, Ben & Parkinson, Martin, 1989. "Unemployment, Inflation, and Wages in the American Depression: Are There Lessons for Europe?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 210-214, May.
    9. Margo, Robert A., 1991. "The Microeconomics of Depression Unemployment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 333-341, June.
    10. Rees, Albert, 1970. "On Equilibrium in Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 306-310, March-Apr.
    11. Anthony Patrick O'Brien, 1989. "A Behavioral Explanation for Nominal Wage Rigidity During the Great Depression," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 719-735.
    12. Smith, James P, 1984. "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 685-698, September.
    13. Eichengreen, Barry & Hatton, Tim, 1988. "Interwar Unemployment in International Perspective," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt7bw188gk, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    14. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1972. "Unemployment in the Great Depression: Is There a Full Explanation?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(1), pages 186-191, Jan.-Feb..
    15. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Real Wages, Employment, and Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 721-754, Sept./Oct.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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