Did Big Government's Largesse Help the Locals? The Implications of Wwii Spending for Local Economic Activity, 1939-1958

66 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2007 Last revised: 25 Jun 2010

See all articles by Joseph Cullen

Joseph Cullen

University of Arizona - Department of Economics

Price V. Fishback

University of Arizona; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 2006

Abstract

Studies of the development of local economies often point to large-scale World War II military spending as a source of long-term economic growth, even though the spending declined sharply after the demobilization. We examine the longer term impact of the temporary war spending on county economies using a variety of measures of socioeconomic activity: including per capita retail sales, the extent of manufacturing, population growth, the share of women in the work force, housing values and ownership, and per capita savings over the period 1940-1950. We find that in the longer term counties receiving more war spending per capita during the war experienced extensive growth due to increases in population but not intensive growth, as the war spending had very small impacts on per capita measures of economic activity.

Suggested Citation

Cullen, Joseph and Fishback, Price V., Did Big Government's Largesse Help the Locals? The Implications of Wwii Spending for Local Economic Activity, 1939-1958 (December 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12801, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=955234

Joseph Cullen

University of Arizona - Department of Economics ( email )

McClelland Hall
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States

Price V. Fishback (Contact Author)

University of Arizona ( email )

Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States
520-621-4421 (Phone)
520-621-8450 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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United States

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