Publications

Medical Education Reforms and the Origins of the Rural Physician Shortage (with Carolyn Moehling, Melissa Thomasson, and Jaret Treber)

Published in Cliometrica, 2020

Using novel data from the American Medical Directories, we find that physicians trained in more rigorous programs with higher admission standards were less likely to set up practice in rural areas. These findings suggest that the medical education reforms of the early twentieth century contributed to the urban-rural disparity in access to physician care.

Recommended citation: Moehling, Carolyn, Gregory Niemesh, Melissa Thomasson, and Jaret Treber. (2020). "Medical Education Reforms and the Origins of the Rural Physician Shortage" Forthcoming at Cliometrica. http://niemesgt.github.io/files/MoehlingNiemeshThomassonTreber2019.pdf

Unions and the Great Compression of American Inequality, 1940-1960 (with William Collins)

Published in Economic History Review, 2019

In this paper, we exploit new data sources and empirical strategies to assess whether the rise of labor unions contributed substantially to the “Great Compression.”

  • 2018 IPUMS USA Published Research Award Winner

Recommended citation: Collins, William and Gregory Niemesh. (2019). "Unions and the Great Compression of American Inequality, 1940-1960" Forthcoming at Economic History Review. http://niemesgt.github.io/files/CollinsNiemeshUnionsMarch2018.pdf

Revising Infant Mortality Rates for the Early 20th Century United States (with Katherine Eriksson and Melissa Thomasson)

Published in Demography, 2018

In contrast to the recent experience, income inequality in the United States declined sharply around the middle of the twentieth century, an event that Goldin and Margo (1992) termed the “Great Compression.” Compared to the recent era of rising income inequality, our understanding of the earlier compression of wages is far less developed. In this paper, we exploit new data sources and empirical strategies to assess whether the rise of labor unions contributed substantially to the “Great Compression.” From the late 1930s to the early 1950s, union membership increased from approximately 11 to 30 percent of nonfarm employment. We adopt a difference-in-differences regression strategy to measure the association between changes in union density in the 1940s and changes in local inequality, conditional on other factors that may have simultaneously affected local wage structures. In essence, we test whether places with larger increases in union density tended to have larger declines in wage inequality. Therefore, isolating the role of unions, apart from the many other influences on the wage structure, poses difficult measurement challenges. Nonetheless, we find strong evidence that places that were “more exposed” to increases in unionization due to their pre-existing industrial structure experienced sharper declines in wage inequality during the 1940s, while controlling for several other factors such as the distribution of war contracts to local producers. This correlation extended at least until 1960, as did the “Great Compression.” Thus, the evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that unions caused a substantial amount of wage compression around mid-century.

Recommended citation: Eriksson, Katherine and Gregory Niemesh and Melissa Thomasson. (2018). "Revising Infant Mortality Rates for the Early 20th Century United States" Demography. 55(6): 2001-2024 http://niemesgt.github.io/files/ErikssonNiemeshThomasson.pdf

Improvements in Health and the Organization and Development of Health Care and Health Insurance Markets (with Melissa Thomasson)

Published in Handbook of Cliometrics, eds. Claude Diebolt and Michael Haupert. Berlin: Springer., 2018

Summary article in the Handbook of Cliometrics

Recommended citation: Gregory Niemesh and Melissa Thomasson. (2018). "Improvements in Health and the Organization and Development of Health Care and Health Insurance Markets." in Handbook of Cliometrics, eds. Claude Diebolt and Michael Haupert. Berlin: Springer.

Revisiting the Great Compression: Wage inequality in the United States, 1940-1960 (with Taylor Jaworski)

Published in Historical Methods, 2018

This paper takes advantage of the newly available complete count of the 1940 census as well as the enlarged (and improved) samples of the 1950 and 1960 censuses for the United States to revisit the seminal work of Goldin and Margo (1992) on the Great Compression in the immediate aftermath of World War II.

Recommended citation: Jaworski, Taylor and Gregory Niemesh. (2018). "Revisiting the Great Compression: Wage inequality in the United States, 1940-1960" Historical Methods. 51(1):39-48. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01615440.2017.1393360

Ironing Out Deficiencies: Evidence from the United States on the Economic Effects Iron Deficiency

Published in The Journal of Human Resources, 2015

In 1943, the United States government issued War Food Order No. 1, which required the fortification of bread with iron to reduce iron deficiency in the working age population during World War II. This paper measures the economic impact of the fortification program.

Recommended citation: Niemesh, Gregory. (2015). "Ironing Out Deficiencies: Evidence from the United States on the Economic Effects Iron Deficiency." The Journal of Human Resources. 50(4):910-958. http://jhr.uwpress.org/content/50/4/910?related-urls=yes&legid=wpjhr;50/4/910