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Dissertation Workshop

War Losses as a Labor Supply Shock: Evidence from Germany


February 25, 2022
12:00pm - 1:00pm
RSVP Required Directions

Dissertation Workshop

War Losses as a Labor Supply Shock: Evidence from Germany


February 25, 2022
12:00pm - 1:00pm
RSVP Required Directions
February 25, 2022
12:00pm - 1:00pm
RSVP Required Directions

The Dissertation Workshop is a graduate educational seminar open to graduate students and their advisors. Spring workshops will be held in-person and are only open to Harvard and MIT affiliates who are on a regular University COVID-19 testing cadence. The Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES) invites graduate students who are interested in presenting their research or to RSVP for this workshop to contact CES Dissertation Workshop Coordinator Hansong Li.

About

Matthias Quinkhardt is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in economics whose research interests are in labor economics and political economy, especially on the causes and effectiveness of policies addressing regional inequalities in economic activity. This paper is supposed to be the final chapter of his dissertation and aims to examine one potential cause of regional differences in economic activity, the loss of manpower and human capital in Germany in World War I.

Quinkhardt's paper analyzes the effect of war losses in World War I on local economic development. It combines a newly-geocoded data set of the birthplaces of 8.5 million German soldiers in WWI with census data on agricultural landholdings, industry structure, employment, and technology adoption at the county level. Exploiting quasi-exogenous variation in the intensity of casualties between counties, the paper finds that regions with higher casualties experienced a higher concentration of landholdings after the war. In line with this result, self-employment decreases and formerly self-employed individuals move into wage employment. To compensate for losses in male labor supply, both female employment and usage of labor-saving technologies increased.

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