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Three-And-A-Half Million U.S. Employees Have Been Mislaid: Or, An Explanation of Unemployment, 1934-1941

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  • Michael R. Darby

Abstract

A major conceptual error in the standard BLS and Lebergott unemployment estimates for 1933-1943 is reported. Emergency workers (employees of federal contracyclical programs such as WPA) were counted as unemployed on a normal-jobs-to-be-created instead of job-seekers unemployment definition. For 1934-1941, the corrected unemployment levels are reduced by two to three-and-a half million people and the rates by 4 to 7 percentage points. The corrected data show strong movement toward the natural unemployment rate after 1933 and are very well explained by an anticipations-search model using annual full-time earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael R. Darby, 1975. "Three-And-A-Half Million U.S. Employees Have Been Mislaid: Or, An Explanation of Unemployment, 1934-1941," NBER Working Papers 0088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0088
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gordon, Robert J, 1969. "$45 Billion of U.S. Private Investment Has Been Mislaid," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 221-238, June.
    2. 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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    Cited by:

    1. J. Huston McCulloch, 1977. "Misintermediation and Business Fluctuation," NBER Working Papers 0160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. Anderson, Richard G. & Bordo, Michael & Duca, John V., 2017. "Money and velocity during financial crises: From the great depression to the great recession," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 32-49.
    4. Bakker, Gerben, 2009. "Time and productivity growth in services: how motion pictures industrialized entertainment," Economic History Working Papers 27866, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    5. repec:dgr:rugggd:gd-108 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. 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.
    7. repec:aeb:wpaper:201604:i:4:y:2016 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Price Fishback & Samuel Allen & Jonathan Fox & Brendan Livingston, 2010. "A Patchwork Safety Net: A Survey Of Cliometric Studies Of Income Maintenance Programs In The United States In The First Half Of The Twentieth Century," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(5), pages 895-940, December.
    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. Jong, H. de & Woltjer, P., 2009. "A Comparison of Real Output and Productivity for British and American Manufacturing in 1935," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-108, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    11. repec:eee:dyncon:v:81:y:2017:i:c:p:50-64 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. David Laidler, 2013. "Reassessing the Thesis of the Monetary History," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20135, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
    13. Robert J. Barro, 1986. "The Behavior of United States Deficits," NBER Chapters,in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 361-394 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. repec:spr:cliomt:v:12:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11698-016-0158-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:eee:jpolmo:v:39:y:2017:i:4:p:650-654 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. George Alogoskoufis, 2016. "Unemployment Persistence, Inflation and Monetary Policy in A Dynamic Stochastic Model of the Phillips Curve Abstract:This paper puts forward an alternative “new Keynesian” dynamic stochastic general e," Working Papers 201604, Athens University Of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.

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