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The Effect of Internal Migration on Local Labor Markets:American Cities during the Great Depression

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  • Leah Platt Boustan
  • Price V. Fishback
  • Shawn Kantor

Abstract

The Great Depression offers a unique laboratory to investigate the causal impact of migration on local labor markets. We use variation in the generosity of New Deal programs and extreme weather events to instrument for migrant flows to and from U.S. cities. In-migration had little effect on the hourly earnings of existing residents. Instead,in-migration prompted some residents to move away and others to lose weeks of work or access to relief jobs. For every 10 arrivals, we estimate that 1.9 residents moved out, 2.1 were prevented from finding a relief job, and 1.9 shifted from full-time to part-time work. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:28:y:2010:i:4:p:719-746
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    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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