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Migration Creation, Diversion, and Retention: New Deal Grants and Migration: 1935-1940

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  • Todd Sorensen
  • Price V. Fishback
  • Samuel Allen
  • Shawn E. Kantor

Abstract

During the 1930s the federal government embarked upon an ambitious series of grant programs designed to counteract the Great Depression. The amounts distributed varied widely across the country and potentially contributed to population shifts. We estimate an aggregate discrete choice model, in which household heads choose among 466 economic subregions. The structural model allows us to decompose the effects of program spending on migration into three categories: the effect of spending on keeping households in their origin (retention), the effect of pulling non-migrants out of their origin (creation), and the effect of causing migrants to substitute away from an alternative destination (diversion). An additional dollar of public works and relief spending increased net migration into an area primarily by retaining the existing population and creating new migration into the county. Only a small share of the increase in net migration rate was caused by diversion of people who had already chosen to migrate. AAA spending contributed to net out migration, primarily by creating new out migrants and repelling potential in migrants. A counterfactual analysis suggests that the uneven distribution of New Deal spending explains about twelve percent of the internal migration flows in the United States between 1935 and 1940.

Suggested Citation

  • Todd Sorensen & Price V. Fishback & Samuel Allen & Shawn E. Kantor, 2007. "Migration Creation, Diversion, and Retention: New Deal Grants and Migration: 1935-1940," NBER Working Papers 13491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13491 Note: DAE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Persyn, Damiaan & Brandsma, Andries & Kancs, d’Artis, 2014. "Modelling Migration and Regional Labour Markets: an Application of the New Economic Geography Model RHOMOLO," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 29, pages 372-407.
    2. Pavel Ciaian & d’Artis Kancs, 2015. "Assessing the Social and Macroeconomic Impacts of Labour Market Integration: A Holistic Approach," JRC Working Papers JRC99645, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    3. Persyn, Damiaan & Torfs, Wouter & Kancs, d’Artis, 2014. "Modelling regional labour market dynamics: Participation, employment and migration decisions in a spatial CGE model for the EU," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 29, pages 77-90.
    4. Hu, Chaoran & Chen, Kevin Z. & Reardon, Thomas, 2015. "Is There a City Size Bias? Destination Choice of Rural off-Farm Workers, Evidences from Three Areas in Rural China," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205535, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    5. Canaday, Neil & Jaremski, Matthew, 2012. "Legacy, location, and labor: Accounting for racial differences in postbellum cotton production," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 291-302.
    6. D'Artis Kancs & Enrique Lopez-Bazo & Fabio Manca & Damiaan Persyn, 2012. "Modelling Migration and Regional Labour Markets: An Application of New Economic Geography Model Rhomolo," ERSA conference papers ersa12p808, European Regional Science Association.
    7. Damiaan Persyn, 2017. "Migration within the EU: investigating the role of education, income differences and cultural barriers," JRC Working Papers JRC104494, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).

    More about this item

    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-

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