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Added and Discouraged Workers in the Late 1930s : A Re-Examination

Author: T Aldrich Finegan; Robert A Margo
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. National Bureau of Economic Research 1993.
Series: Historical Working Paper Series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. h0045.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
We revisit a famous controversy in labor economics: the debate between W.S. Woytinsky and Clarence Long over "added" and "discouraged" worker effects in the late 1930s. According to Woytinsky, the Depression created large numbers of added workers, persons who entered the labor force when the head of the household became unemployed. Long, on the other hand, believed that the number of added workers was trivial  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: History
Electronic book
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: T Aldrich Finegan; Robert A Margo
OCLC Number: 1027320459
Notes: April 1993.
Description: 1 online resource.
Details: Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Series Title: Historical Working Paper Series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. h0045.
Responsibility: T. Aldrich Finegan, Robert A. Margo.

Abstract:

We revisit a famous controversy in labor economics: the debate between W.S. Woytinsky and Clarence Long over "added" and "discouraged" worker effects in the late 1930s. According to Woytinsky, the Depression created large numbers of added workers, persons who entered the labor force when the head of the household became unemployed. Long, on the other hand, believed that the number of added workers was trivial compared with the number of discouraged workers, and subsequent research has largely supported Long. Using a sample of married women drawn from the public use sample of the 1940 census, we show that added worker effect was alive and well in the late 1930s, but that its viability was muted by the operation of work relief. Wives whose husbands held "public emergency work relief" jobs with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) or related agencies were far less likely to participate in the labor force than wives whose husbands were employed in a private sector or non-relief government job, or whose husbands were unemployed, so much so that the added worker effect disappears in the aggregate if the impact of work relief is ignored.

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