NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Health, Information, and Migration: Geographic Mobility of Union Army Veterans, 1860-1880

Chulhee Lee

NBER Working Paper No. 11207
Issued in March 2005
NBER Program(s):   LS

This paper explores how injuries, sickness, and geographical mobility of Union Army veterans while in service affected their post-service migrations. Wartime wounds and illnesses significantly diminished the geographical mobility of veterans after the war. Geographic moves while carrying out military missions had strong positive effects on their post-service geographic mobility. Geographic moves while in service also influenced the choice of destination among the migrants. The farther into the South a veteran had traveled while in service, the higher the probability that he would migrate to the South. Furthermore, these migrants to the South were more likely to settle in a state they had entered while in service. Increased general knowledge about geographical transfer itself, greater information on distant lands and labor markets, and reduced psychological cost of moving were probably important mechanisms by which prior mobility affected subsequent migration. I discuss some implications of the results for the elements of self-selection in migration, the roles of different types of information in migration decisions, and the overall impact of the Civil War on geographic mobility.

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Published: Lee, Chulhee, 2008. "Health, Information, and Migration: Geographic Mobility of Union Army Veterans, 1860?1880," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(03), pages 862-899, September.

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