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

Labor Market Integration Before the Civil War

  • Robert A. Margo

This paper uses newly collected archival evidence to examine various aspects of the geographic performance of American labor markets before the Civil War. Much of the paper addresses the evolution of regional differences in real wages, of interest to economic historians because they speak to the formation of a national labor market.' In the North, real wages followed a pattern of convergence: wages were highest initially on the frontier -- the Midwest -- but tended to decline relative to real wages in settled regions -- the Northeast -- as labor migrated to the frontier. In the South, regional wage gaps were generally smaller than in the North, but real wages in the South fell significantly below Northern levels beginning in the 1830's. In addition to regional differences, I also examine wage convergence at the level of local labor markets, proxied by counties, using manuscript census data for 1850 and 1860. I find strong evidence of regression to the mean: high wage counties in 1850 were far less likely to be high wage in 1860. Such evidence is consistent with the view that antebellum local labor markets were spatially integrated.

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/w6643.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6643.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jul 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as "Wages and Labor Markets Before the Civil War", American Economic Review, Vol. 88, no. 2 (May 1998): 51-56.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6643
Note: DAE
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. 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.
  2. Claudia Goldin & Hugh Rockoff, 1992. "Strategic Factors in Nineteenth Century American Economic History: A Volume to Honor Robert W. Fogel," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold92-1, October.
  3. Claudia Goldin & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 1981. "Women, Children, and Industrialization in the Early Republic: Evidence from the Manufacturing Censuses," NBER Working Papers 0795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Matthew J. Slaughter, 1995. "The Antebellum Transportation Revolution and Factor-Price Convergence," NBER Working Papers 5303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David W. Galenson & Clayne L. Pope, 1992. "Precedence and Wealth: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Utah," NBER Chapters, in: Strategic Factors in Nineteenth Century American Economic History: A Volume to Honor Robert W. Fogel, pages 225-241 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Richard H. Steckel, 1982. "The Economic Foundations of East-West Migration During the Nineteenth Century," NBER Working Papers 0881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Rosenbloom, Joshua L., 1996. "Was There a National Labor Market at the End of the Nineteenth Century? New Evidence on Earnings in Manufacturing," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 626-656, September.
  9. 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.
  10. Margo, Robert A, 1998. "Wages and Labor Markets before the Civil War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 51-56, May.
  11. Fleisig, Heywood, 1976. "Slavery, the Supply of Agricultural Labor, and the Industrialization of the South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(03), pages 572-597, September.
  12. Rosenbloom, Joshua L., 1990. "One Market or Many? Labor Market Integration in the Late Nineteenth-Century United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(01), pages 85-107, March.
  13. Kenneth L. Sokoloff & Georgia C. Villaflor, 1991. "The Market for Manufacturing Workers During Early Industrialization: The American Northeast, 1820 to 1860," NBER Historical Working Papers 0028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Coffman, Chad & Gregson, Mary Eschelbach, 1998. "Railroad Development and Land Value," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 191-204, March.
  15. Craig, Lee A & Palmquist, Raymond B & Weiss, Thomas, 1998. "Transportation Improvements and Land Values in the Antebellum United States: A Hedonic Approach," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 173-89, March.
  16. Thomas J. Weiss, 1992. "U. S. Labor Force Estimates and Economic Growth, 1800-1860," NBER Chapters, in: American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War, pages 19-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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:6643. 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.