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Effects of Agricultural Productivity Shocks on Female Labor Supply: Evidence from the Boll Weevil Plague in the US South


Speaker:Philipp Ager, University of Southern Denmark
Date: Friday 16 January 2015
Time: 16.15 - 17.45
Location: Matrix Lecture Theatre, Building One

Further details

In the beginning of the 1890s, counties located in the Cotton Belt of the American South were hit by an agricultural plague, the boll weevil, that adversely affected cotton production and hence the demand for labor. We use variation in the incidence of the boll weevil multiplied with counties’ itial cotton share to construct instrumental variables estimates of the labor supply curve. Controlling for county and state-by-time fixed effects, we find a significant positive response of labor supply to changes in labor income. The effect is particularly large for females, consistent with evidence that females had a comparative advantage in picking cotton.

A copy of the paper can be found here: