World War II and the Industrialization of the American South
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.
I thank Lee Alston, Dominick Bartelme, Nate Baum-Snow, Hoyt Bleakley, Bill Collins, Briggs Depew, Dan Fetter, Price Fishback, Gautam Gowrisankaran, Theresa Gutberlet, Lila Jaworski, Shawn Kantor, Ian Keay, Carl Kitchens, Ashley Langer, Frank Lewis, Paul Rhode, Jason Taylor, Mo Xiao, Fabian Waldinger, Marianne Wanamaker, Nic Ziebarth, and seminar participants at Arizona, Michigan, Middlebury, Queen’s, RPI, Simon Fraser, Vanderbilt, Warwick, and the 2015 Cliometric Society and Economic History Association conferences for helpful comments. David Rose provided valuable research assistance. Support for this project was provided by Queen’s University, National Science Foundation Grant #1155957, the John E. Rovensky Fellowship, and a Humane Studies Fellowship. All remaining errors are my own. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Taylor Jaworski, 2017. "World War II and the Industrialization of the American South," The Journal of Economic History, vol 77(04), pages 1048-1082. citation courtesy of