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Recruitment Restrictions and labor markets: evidence from the post-bellum U.S. south

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  • Suresh Naidu

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

This paper estimates the impacts of labor-mobility restrictions on job-transitions and wages in the postbellum U.S. south. In particuliar, I estimate the effects of changes in criminal fines, collected from BLS commission labor reports, charged for "enticement" (offers made to workers already under contract) on sharecropper mobility, tenancy choice, and agricultural wages. I present three different pieces of evidence. The first is a retrospective work history panel of farmers from Jefferson County, Arkansas. The second is a state-year panel, using USDA agricultural wages as a dependent variable. The third is a cohort-state regresssion using the 1940 IPUMS census micro sample, estimating the effects of anti-enticement laws on the returns to experience in agricultural labor. I find that a 10% increase in the fine ($13) charged for enticement a.) lowered the probably of a move by black sharecroppers by 6 percentage points, a 12% decline, and b.) lowered agricultural wages, by reducing the exit probability to sharecropping, by 0.11 % (1 cent of daily wages), and c.) lowered the returns to experience in agriculture for blacks by 0.6% per year. These results are consistent with the on-the-job search model, where the enticement fine raises the cost of offering a job to employed workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Suresh Naidu, 2008. "Recruitment Restrictions and labor markets: evidence from the post-bellum U.S. south," Working Papers 1114, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:544
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Reid, Joseph D., 1973. "Sharecropping As An Understandable Market Response: The Post-Bellum South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(01), pages 106-130, March.
    2. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
    3. Pranab K. Bardhan, 1983. "Labor-tying in a Poor Agrarian Economy: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 501-514.
    4. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1990. "Empirical Age-Earnings Profiles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 202-229, April.
    5. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
    6. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-273, May.
    7. Robert A. Margo, 1990. "Race and Schooling in the South, 1880-1950: An Economic History," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number marg90-1, July.
    8. Mukherjee, Anindita & Ray, Debraj, 1995. "Labor tying," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 207-239, August.
    9. Genicot, Garance, 2002. "Bonded labor and serfdom: a paradox of voluntary choice," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 101-127, February.
    10. Hanes, Christopher, 1996. "Turnover Cost and the Distribution of slave Labor in Anglo-America," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(02), pages 307-329, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeremy T. Fox, 2010. "Estimating the Employer Switching Costs and Wage Responses of Forward-Looking Engineers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 357-412, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    monopsony papers; wages; crime; sharecroppers; labor mobility; job transitions; agricultural wages;

    JEL classification:

    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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