Work-sharing during the great depression: Did the 'president's reemployment agreement' promote reemployment?

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Abstract

The President's Reemployment Agreement (PRA) of 1933 directed firms to reduce workweeks during the Great Depression so existing jobs could be spread into additional employment opportunities. Similar 'work-sharing' policies have recently been implemented across Europe in hopes of reducing unemployment. I find that, ceteris paribus, the work-sharing aspects of the PRA created nearly 2.5 million new employment opportunities in around four months. However, the programme also required firms to raise hourly wage rates, offsetting close to half of these gains. Furthermore, most of the remaining employment gains were wiped out after cartel-oriented industry-specific codes of fair competition supplanted the PRA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-158
Number of pages26
JournalEconomica
Volume78
Issue number309
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

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