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THE SUPPLY PRICE OF LABOR DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION

Abstract

This article presents somewhat-more-direct evidence than has been available on the supply price of labor during the Depression. The new data comprise wages asked from situations-wanted ads for female clerical workers. Between 1929 and 1933 annual average clerical wages asked fell nominally by nearly 58 percent, markedly lower than wages of new or existing employees. Neither changes in labor quality nor self-selection explains the decline. Clerical wages asked fell by roughly the same percentage as did wages paid in agriculture. The data are strongly inconsistent with the market-clearing view of Depression-era labor markets.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Curtis J. Simon is Associate Professor, Department of Economics, 222 Sirrine Hall, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-1309. E-mail: cjsmn@clemson.edu. Telephone: (864) 656-3966.
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The Journal of Economic History
  • ISSN: 0022-0507
  • EISSN: 1471-6372
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-economic-history
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