The New deal at War: Alphabet agencies' expenditure patterns, 1940-1945

Fred Bateman, Jason E. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


While a multitude of New Deal "relief, recovery, and reform" agencies were created in response to the 1930s economic shock, many of these same agencies were subsumed by the Federal Works Agency and played key national defense roles during the 1940s. We examine the wartime expenditure patterns of these agencies, as well as spending on war supply contracts and war-related industrial facilities, to determine whether Depression-era economic goals were addressed during the Second World War. We find that some specific aspects of the New Deal economic agenda were carried out during the war. Furthermore, wartime spending by the alphabet agencies was significantly correlated with the expenditure patterns of those agencies during the 1930s, suggesting that the transition from economic to military objectives may not have been as pointed as the Roosevelt Administration often asserted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-277
Number of pages27
JournalExplorations in Economic History
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2003


  • Franklin Roosevelt
  • Government spending
  • New Deal
  • War
  • World War II


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