Job Market Paper

The Emergence of a National Labor Market in US Manufacturing


The degree to which markets integrate, and along what dimensions have important welfare implications. In economic history it has been argued that after the Civil War labor market integration lagged good market integration, particularly for some parts of the country and that only during the 20th century did labor market integration at a national level take place. I use new hand recorded data from the United States Census of Manufactures from 1900-1940 to reexamine this narrative. These data include wage bills by wage and salaried workers at the industry-state level. Rather than rely only on wages I use these data to create a measure of skill premium and an appeal to a law of one price to measure labor market frictions at the state level. Consistent with the literature, I find that labor market frictions declined during this period. However, I do not find statistically significant evidence that any parts of the country consistently faced greater than national average labor market frictions.

Working Papers

Migration and Occupational Mobility in the United States, 1850-1940


Between 1850-1940 technological and political developments in the United States dramatically decreased the real costs of moving people and goods across the country. This paper uses linked decade pair full count US census data from 1850-1940 to estimate frictions faced by workers when making decisions about where to work and what occupation to hold. Consistent with the existing literature, I find that frictions associated with changing occupation and location increased through the Civil War years and then fell 33 and 20 percent respectively. I also estimate the costs of low skilled workers transitioning into high skilled work and find that after 1870 farmers consistently faced the largest frictions when transitioning into high skilled work. Unlike the other occupation groups, farmers saw these frictions increase over time.

Regional Convergence and Technological Progress in American Manufacturing before World War II


The period between 1900 -1940 is one in which the poorest regions of the United States began to catch up to wealthier regions. This paper uses new data from the US Census of Manufactures to determine how much of this convergence was attributable to developments in the manufacturing sector of the economy and which industry groups in particular had the largest effect in promoting convergence in income and productivity. I find that the industry groups with the fastest rates of convergence were on the technological frontier and included electronic machinery, fabricated metals, and scientific and medical instruments.