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Net Exports and the Avoidance of High Unemployment During Reconversion, 1945–1947


  • Taylor, Jason E.
  • Basu, Bharati
  • McLean, Steven


While economists predicted a return to double-digit unemployment rates during the reconversion from World War II, this outcome did not materialize. This article explores the role that the significant rise in net exports—which accounted for nearly 4 percent of GDP in 1946 and 1947—played in helping the United States avoid a postwar unemployment problem. Using an input-output analysis, we find that the export surplus directly accounted for 1.33 million jobs in 1946 and 1.97 million jobs in 1947. This accounts for close to half of the gains to private sector employment during these years.

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  • Taylor, Jason E. & Basu, Bharati & McLean, Steven, 2011. "Net Exports and the Avoidance of High Unemployment During Reconversion, 1945–1947," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(02), pages 444-454, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:71:y:2011:i:02:p:444-454_00

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