NBER Working Papers by Marianne H. Wanamaker

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Working Papers

July 2015The Great Migration in Black and White: New Evidence on the Selection and Sorting of Southern Migrants
with William J. Collins: w21384
We construct datasets of linked census records to study internal migrants’ selection and destination choices during the first decades of the “Great Migration” (1910-1930). We study both whites and blacks and intra- and inter-regional migration. While there is some evidence of positive selection, the degree of selection was small and participation in migration was widespread. Differences in background, including initial location, cannot account for racial differences in destination choices. Blacks and whites were similarly responsive to pre-existing migrant stocks from their home state, but black men were more deterred by distance, attracted to manufacturing, and responsive to labor demand.
January 2015Municipal Housekeeping: The Impact of Women's Suffrage on Public Education
with Celeste K. Carruthers: w20864
Gains in 20th century real wages and reductions in the black-white wage gap have been linked to the mid-century ascent of school quality. With a new dataset uniquely appropriate to identifying the impact of female voter enfranchisement on education spending, we attribute up to one-third of the 1920-1940 rise in public school expenditures to the Nineteenth Amendment. Yet the continued disenfranchisement of black southerners meant white school gains far outpaced those for blacks. As a result, women’s suffrage exacerbated racial inequality in education expenditures and substantially delayed relative gains in black human capital observed later in the century.
November 2014The Perverse Impact of Calling for Energy Conservation
with J. Scott Holladay, Michael K. Price: w20706
In periods of high energy demand, utilities frequently issue "emergency" appeals for conservation over peak hours to reduce brownout risk. We estimate the impact of such appeals using high-frequency data on actual and forecasted electricity generation, pollutant emission measures, and real-time prices. Our results suggest a perverse impact; while there is no significant reduction in grid stress over superpeak hours, such calls lead to increased off -peak generation, CO2 emissions, and price volatility. We postulate that consumer attempts at load shifting lead to this result.

Published: Holladay, J. Scott & Price, Michael K. & Wanamaker, Marianne, 2015. "The perverse impact of calling for energy conservation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 1-18. citation courtesy of

June 2013Selection and Economic Gains in the Great Migration of African Americans: New Evidence from Linked Census Data
with William J. Collins: w19124
The onset of World War I spurred the "Great Migration" of African Americans from the U.S. South, arguably the most important internal migration in U.S. history. We create a new panel dataset of more than 5,000 men matched from the 1910 to 1930 census manuscripts to address three interconnected questions: To what extent was there selection into migration? How large were the migrants' gains? Did migration narrow the racial gap in economic status? We find evidence of positive selection, but the migrants' gains were large. A substantial amount of black-white convergence in this period is attributable to migration.

Published: William J. Collins & Marianne H. Wanamaker, 2014. "Selection and Economic Gains in the Great Migration of African Americans: New Evidence from Linked Census Data," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 220-52, January. citation courtesy of

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