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The Sources of Regional Variation in the Severity of the Great Depression: Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing, 1919-1937

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  • Joshua L. Rosenbloom
  • William A. Sundstrom

Abstract

The severity of the Great Depression in the United States varied by region. Most notably compared with the rest of the country, the South Atlantic states experienced a milder contraction while the Mountain states suffered more severely. The impact of the contraction was more" uniform across other regions of the country--surprisingly so, considering the large regional" differences in industrial structure. We employ data from the biennial Census of Manufactures on" 20 individual manufacturing industries disaggregated by state to analyze the relative" contributions of industry mix and location to regional variations in economic performance during" the period 1919-1937. Industrial composition had a significant impact on regional employment" growth, with regions that concentrated on the production of durable goods or inputs to the" construction sector tending to fare worse than others. Long-run regional trends also played an" important role in regional variation, and explain much of the South Atlantic region's more" favorable performance over the cycle.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua L. Rosenbloom & William A. Sundstrom, 1997. "The Sources of Regional Variation in the Severity of the Great Depression: Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing, 1919-1937," NBER Working Papers 6288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6288
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel K. Fetter & Lee M. Lockwood, 2016. "Government Old-Age Support and Labor Supply: Evidence from the Old Age Assistance Program," NBER Working Papers 22132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gary Richardson & William Troost, 2009. "Monetary Intervention Mitigated Banking Panics during the Great Depression: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Federal Reserve District Border, 1929-1933," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(6), pages 1031-1073, December.
    3. Hill, Matthew J., 2015. "Easterlin revisited: Relative income and the baby boom," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 71-85.
    4. Nicolas L. Ziebarth, 2013. "Identifying the Effects of Bank Failures from a Natural Experiment in Mississippi during the Great Depression," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 81-101, January.
    5. Michele Campolieti & Deborah Gefang & Gary Koop, 2013. "A new look at variation in employment growth in Canada," Working Papers 26145565, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N62 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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