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Employment and Unemployment in the 1930s

  • Robert A. Margo

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.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.7.2.41
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 7 (1993)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 41-59

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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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  1. Smith, James P, 1984. "Race and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 685-98, September.
  2. De Long, James Bradford & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "Is Increased Price Flexibility Stabilizing?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1031-44, December.
  3. Goldin, Claudia & Margo, Robert A, 1992. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid-century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 1-34, February.
  4. Margo, Robert A., 1991. "The Microeconomics of Depression Unemployment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(02), pages 333-341, June.
  5. 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.
  6. O'Brien, Anthony Patrick, 1989. "A Behavioral Explanation for Nominal Wage Rigidity during the Great Depression," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 719-35, November.
  7. 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 721-54, Sept./Oct.
  8. 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(02), pages 415-429, June.
  9. 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 210-14, May.
  10. Whatley, Warren C., 1983. "Labor for the Picking: the New Deal in the South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(04), pages 905-929, December.
  11. 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 186-91, Jan.-Feb..
  12. 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.
  13. 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 384-97, April.
  14. Rees, Albert, 1970. "On Equilibrium in Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 306-10, March-Apr.
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