The Grapes of Path Dependence: The Long-Run Political Impact of the Dust Bowl Migration
34 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2018 Last revised: 15 Feb 2019
Date Written: February 14, 2019
In this paper, we show that the migrations of millions of Okies from the central plains to California has a demonstrable effect on political outcomes to this day, even after accounting for other relevant geographic and demographic factors. After demonstrating this pattern at the electoral level, we leverage a decade's worth of survey data and show that Hispanics living in areas with large Okie migrations in the 1930s are much more likely to have conservative social values and, importantly, to vote and identify as Republicans. Put together, these results suggest that the historical legacies of migration can have a strong and sustained impact even after nearly a century after the fact.
Keywords: migration, okies, long-run impact, elections, politics
JEL Classification: D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation