The long-run effects of childhood exposure to market access shocks: Evidence from the US railroad network expansion
68 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2022 Last revised: 18 Dec 2022
Date Written: March 2, 2022
In this paper, I use the expansion of the US railroad network from 1900 to 1910 and the resulting spatial variation in increased market access to investigate whether economic shocks that occur during childhood have long-run ramifications on later-life outcomes, and the channels through which such effects manifest. I link individuals across the 1900, 1910, and 1940 full-count US Censuses and incorporate an instrumental variable strategy to help isolate the causal effect of market access. I find that, in the short run, sons are less likely to be literate and have more siblings. In the long-run, these sons then become less likely to be well-educated and earn lower incomes. The results of this paper shed light on the mechanisms through which railroad-induced market access and other economic shocks during childhood can impact individuals even in later life.
Keywords: linked census, market access, railroads, United States
JEL Classification: F14, J13, N31, N71, O18, R23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation