NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Labor Force Participation of Older Americans in 1900: Further Results

Robert A. Margo

NBER Historical Working Paper No. 27
Issued in July 1991
NBER Program(s):   DAE

Data from the public use sample of the 1900 census are used to study the proper labor force classification of older male Americans experiencing 6 months or more of unemployment in the previous year ("long-term unemployed"). In terms of their personal characteristics, the long-term unemployed were similar in many respects to persons with a gainful occupation. Because the probability of re-employment, conditional on unemployment, appears to have declined with age, the probability of experiencing long-term unemployment rose as persons aged. Census data are consistent with the view that the older an individual was upon entering the status of long-term unemployment, the greater the likelihood the person would leave the labor force in a short period of time. I conclude, however, that this is insufficient reason to exclude the long-term unemployed from the count of gainful workers in 1900, as has recently been advocated.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/h0027

Published: Explorations in Economic History, vol 30, October 1993: p. 409-423

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