Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 7 No. 2 (Spring 1993)


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Employment and Unemployment in the 1930s

Article Citation

Margo, Robert A. 1993. "Employment and Unemployment in the 1930s." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 7(2): 41-59.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.7.2.41


Recent research on labor markets in the 1930s has shifted attention from aggregate to disaggregate time series and towards microeconomic evidence. The paper begins by reviewing the conventional statistics of the United States labor market during the Great Depression and the paradigms to explain them. It then turns to recent studies of employment and unemployment using disaggregated data of various types. The paper concludes with discussions of research on other aspects of labor markets in the 1930s and on a promising source of microdata for future work.

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Margo, Robert A. (Vanderbilt U and NBER)

JEL Classifications

N12: Economic History: Macroeconomics; Growth and Fluctuations: U.S.; Canada: 1913-
E32: Business Fluctuations; Cycles
E24: Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital


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