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The Dynamics of Relief Spending and the Private Urban Labor Market During the New Deal

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  • Neumann, Todd C.
  • Fishback, Price V.
  • Kantor, Shawn

Abstract

During the New Deal the Roosevelt Administration dramatically expanded relief spending to combat extraordinarily high rates of unemployment. We examine the dynamic relationships between relief spending and local private labor markets using a new panel data set of monthly relief, private employment and private earnings for major U.S. cities in the 1930s. Impulse response functions derived from a panel VAR model that controls for time and city fixed effects show that a work relief shock in period t-1 led to a decline in private employment and a rise in private monthly earnings. The finding offers evidence consistent with contemporary employers' complaints that work relief made it more difficult to hire, even though work relief officials followed their stated policies to avoid affecting private labor markets directly. Meanwhile, negative shocks to private employment led to increases in work relief, consistent with Roosevelt's stated goal of using relief to promote relief and recovery.
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  • Neumann, Todd C. & Fishback, Price V. & Kantor, Shawn, 2010. "The Dynamics of Relief Spending and the Private Urban Labor Market During the New Deal," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(01), pages 195-220, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:70:y:2010:i:01:p:195-220_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Price Fishback, 2010. "US monetary and fiscal policy in the 1930s," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 385-413, Autumn.
    2. Price Fishback, 2017. "How Successful Was the New Deal? The Microeconomic Impact of New Deal Spending and Lending Policies in the 1930s," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1435-1485, December.
    3. Pascal Michaillat, 2014. "A Theory of Countercyclical Government Multiplier," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 190-217, January.
    4. Klein, Alexander & Otsuy, Keisuke, 2013. "Efficiency, Distortions and Factor Utilization during the Interwar Period," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 147, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. Alex Klein & Keisuke Otsu, 2013. "Efficiency, Distortions and Factor Utilization during the Interwar Period," Studies in Economics 1317, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    6. Lepers, Etienne & Sánchez Serrano, Antonio, 2017. "Decomposing financial (in)stability in emerging economies," ESRB Working Paper Series 39, European Systemic Risk Board.
    7. Price V. Fishback, 2012. "Relief During the Great Depression in A ustralia and A merica," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 52(3), pages 221-249, November.
    8. Polat, Tandogan, 2016. "Essays on banking sector’s dynamics, expectations, preferences and impact," Other publications TiSEM d064f029-f91e-47bc-b6d3-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    9. Leah Platt Boustan & Price V. Fishback & Shawn Kantor, 2010. "The Effect of Internal Migration on Local Labor Markets:American Cities during the Great Depression," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 719-746, October.
    10. Price V. Fishback & John Joseph Wallis, 2012. "What Was New About the New Deal?," NBER Working Papers 18271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Hertweck, Matthias & Brey, Bjoern, 2017. "The Persistent Effects of Monsoon Rainfall Shocks in India: A Nonlinear VAR Approach," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168256, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Michael R.M. Abrigo & Inessa Love, 2016. "Estimation of Panel Vector Autoregression in Stata: a Package of Programs," Working Papers 201602, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    13. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Laura Feiveson & Zachary Liscow & William Gui Woolston, 2012. "Does State Fiscal Relief during Recessions Increase Employment? Evidence from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 118-145, August.
    14. 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.

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