War and Pestilence as Labor Market Shocks: U.S. Manufacturing Wage Growth 1914–1919

15 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2009

See all articles by Thomas A. Garrett

Thomas A. Garrett

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division

Abstract

This paper explores the effect of mortalities from the 1918 influenza pandemic and World War I on wage growth in the manufacturing sector of U.S. states and cities from 1914–1919. The hypothesis is that both events decreased manufacturing labor supply, thereby initially increasing the marginal product of labor and wages. The results reveal that states and cities having had greater influenza mortalities experienced higher wage growth—roughly 2–3 percentage points for a 10% change in per capita mortalities. World War I combat mortalities also had a positive, but smaller, effect on wage growth. (JEL N62, N32, N92, I12)

JEL Classification: N62, N32, N92, I12

Suggested Citation

Garrett, Thomas A., War and Pestilence as Labor Market Shocks: U.S. Manufacturing Wage Growth 1914–1919. Economic Inquiry, Vol. 47, Issue 4, pp. 711-725, October 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1493446 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-7295.2008.00137.x

Thomas A. Garrett (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division ( email )

411 Locust St
Saint Louis, MO 63011
United States

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