NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

World War II and the Industrialization of the American South

Taylor Jaworski

NBER Working Paper No. 23477
Issued in June 2017
NBER Program(s):   DAE

When private incentives are insufficient, a big push by government may lead to industrialization. This paper uses mobilization for World War II to test the big push hypothesis in the context of postwar industrialization in the American South. Specifically, I investigate the role of capital deepening at the county level using newly assembled data on the location and value of wartime investment. Despite a boom in manufacturing activity during the war, the evidence is not consistent with differential growth in counties that received more investment. This does not rule out positive effects of mobilization on firms or sectors, but a decisive role for wartime capital deepening in the Souths postwar industrial development should be viewed more skeptically.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23477

 
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