The Effect of Internal Migration on Local Labor Markets: American Cities During the Great Depression

45 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2007 Last revised: 5 Oct 2007

See all articles by Leah Platt Boustan

Leah Platt Boustan

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics

Price V. Fishback

University of Arizona; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Shawn Kantor

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2007

Abstract

During the Great Depression, as today, migrants were accused of taking jobs and crowding relief rolls. At the time, protest concerned internal migrants rather than the foreign born. We investigate the effect of net migration on local labor markets, instrumenting for migrant flows to a destination with extreme weather events and variation in New Deal programs in typical sending areas. Migration had little effect on the hourly earnings of existing residents. Instead, migration prompted some residents to move away and others to lose weeks of work and/or access to relief jobs. Given the period's high unemployment, these lost work opportunities were costly to existing residents.

Suggested Citation

Boustan, Leah Platt and Fishback, Price V. and Kantor, Shawn, The Effect of Internal Migration on Local Labor Markets: American Cities During the Great Depression (July 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w13276, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1002055

Leah Platt Boustan

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

Price V. Fishback (Contact Author)

University of Arizona ( email )

Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States
520-621-4421 (Phone)
520-621-8450 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Shawn Kantor

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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