IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Antebellum Transportation Revolution and Factor-Price Convergence

  • Matthew J. Slaughter
Registered author(s):

    In antebellum America an extensive network of canals and railroads was constructed which slashed transportation costs across regions. This 'transportation revolution' presents an interesting case study of the factor-price convergence (FPC) theorem. In this paper I look for integration of regional labor markets driven by FPC by studying the extent to which commodity prices and factor prices converged across regions between 1820 and 1860. My primary result is that I find very little evidence of antebellum FPC across regions. I do find that commodity prices equalized quite markedly. But I also find that nominal labor prices equalized very little, if at all. Given this result, I go on to discuss two aspects of the antebellum economy which very likely helped prevent FPC: differences across regions in endowments and technology. This finding underscores that the FPC theorem does not have unambiguous empirical predictions. How commodity prices feed into factor prices depends crucially on parameters such as endowments and technology.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5303.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5303.

    as
    in new window

    Length:
    Date of creation: Oct 1995
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5303
    Note: ITI
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1991. "Integrated and Segmented Labor Markets: Thinking in Two Sectors," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(02), pages 413-425, June.
    2. Robert A. Margo, 1992. "Wages and Prices during the Antebellum Period: A Survey and New Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War, pages 173-216 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Adams, Donald R., 1992. "Prices and Wages in Antebellum America: The West Virginia Experience," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 206-216, March.
    4. Coelho, Philip R. P. & Shepherd, James F., 1976. "Regional differences in real wages: The United States, 1851-1880," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 203-230, April.
    5. Claudia Goldin & Robert A. Margo, 1992. "Wages, Prices, and Labor Markets before the Civil War," NBER Chapters, in: Strategic Factors in Nineteenth Century American Economic History: A Volume to Honor Robert W. Fogel, pages 67-104 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Howard Bodenhorn & Hugh Rockoff, 1992. "Regional Interest Rates in Antebellum America," NBER Chapters, in: Strategic Factors in Nineteenth Century American Economic History: A Volume to Honor Robert W. Fogel, pages 159-187 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1991. "Unemployment, employment contracts, and compensating wage differentials: michigan in the 1890s," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(03), pages 605-632, September.
    8. James, John A., 1976. "The Development of the National Money Market, 1893-1911," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(04), pages 878-897, December.
    9. Margo, Robert A. & Villaflor, Georgia C., 1987. "The Growth of Wages in Antebellum America: New Evidence," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(04), pages 873-895, December.
    10. O'Rourke, Kevin & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1994. "Late Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Factor-Price Convergence: Were Heckscher and Ohlin Right?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(04), pages 892-916, December.
    11. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1991. "Wage gaps between farm and city: Michigan in the 1890s," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 381-408, October.
    12. Leamer, E.E., 1995. "The Heckscher-Ohlin Model in Theory and Practice," Princeton Studies in International Economics 77, International Economics Section, Departement of Economics Princeton University,.
    13. Rosenbloom, Joshua L., 1991. "Occupational Differences in Labor Market Integration: The United States in 1890," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(02), pages 427-439, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5303. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.