Missing Men: World War II Casualties and Structural Change


Year: 2016 HiCN Working Paper No. 229

A shock to the sector composition of the local labor market can affect long-run economic development of a location. Because structural change ultimately shifts labor from agriculture to services, an early transition to manufacturing may hamper longrun prosperity. The identification strategy exploits military World War II (WWII) casualties in Austrian municipalities as an exogenous shock to the local labor market. WWII casualties shifted labor out of agriculture into manufacturing in the short-run, which eventually led to a differential path of structural change. In the long-run, I find a strong and robust negative effect of WWII casualties on subsequent economic output.

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