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The U.S. Economy in WWII as a Model for Coping with Climate Change

Listed author(s):
  • Hugh Rockoff

    ()

    (Rutgers Department of Economics)

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    During World War II the United States rapidly transformed its economy to cope with a wide range of scarcities, such as shortfalls in the amounts of ocean shipping, aluminum, rubber, and other raw materials needed for the war effort. This paper explores the mobilization to see whether it provides lessons about how the economy could be transformed to meet scarcities produced by climate change or other environmental challenges. It concludes that the success of the United States in overcoming scarcities during World War II without a major deterioration in living standards provides a basis for optimism that environmental challenges can be met, but that the unique political consensus that prevailed during the war limits the practical usefulness of the wartime model.

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    File URL: http://www.sas.rutgers.edu/virtual/snde/wp/2016-09.pdf
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    Paper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 201609.

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    Length: 48 pages
    Date of creation: 25 Aug 2016
    Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:201609
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    1. Vernon, J. R., 1994. "World War II Fiscal Policies and the End of the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(04), pages 850-868, December.
    2. Simon Kuznets, 1945. "National Product in Wartime," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn45-1, 01.
    3. Mills, Geofrey & Rockoff, Hugh, 1987. "Compliance with Price Controls in the United States and the United Kingdom During World War II," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 197-213, March.
    4. Barro, Robert J, 1978. "Unanticipated Money, Output, and the Price Level in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 549-580, August.
    5. Higgs, Robert, 1992. "Wartime Prosperity? A Reassessment of the U.S. Economy in the 1940s," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 41-60, March.
    6. Alexander J. Field, 2008. "The impact of the Second World War on US productivity growth -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 61(3), pages 672-694, 08.
    7. Gordon, Robert J, 1969. "$45 Billion of U.S. Private Investment Has Been Mislaid," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 221-238, June.
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