Date of Award:

1972

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Economics and Finance

Advisor/Chair:

Leonard J. Arrington

Abstract

The data base for this research was provided by a set of mimeographed reports prepared in the summer and fall of 1939 by the Office of Government Reports, Statistical Section, Washington, D.C. Originally prepared for Franklin Roosevelt's 1940 campaign, they detail each New Deal program year by year for the 1933-1939 period. The set of forty-eight reports, one for each state, also contains material on the organization of various programs and outlines work accomplishments in each state.

This dissertation is intended as an analysis of New Deal loans and expenditures in each of the forty-eight states during the 1933-1939 period, and calls attention to unusual activities of programs within the several states. Each of thirty-three categories, which include all major New Deal programs plus summaries of smaller programs, is ranked by state on both an absolute and per capita basis. An analysis of the New Deal pattern of loans and expenditures for each region of the United States is also made with the use of absolute and per capita rankings. Each region is also examined for anomalies in federal expenditure and loan patterns. Each major New Deal program is reviewed as to the states and regions which received the major impact from the federal effort.

This dissertation is intended as an analysis of New Deal loans and expenditures in each of the forty-eight states during the 1933-1939 period, and calls attention to unusual activities of programs within the several states. Each of thirty-three categories, which include all major New Deal programs plus summaries of smaller programs, is ranked by state on both an absolute and per capita basis. An analysis of the New Deal pattern of loans and expenditures for each region of the United States is also made with the use of absolute and per capita rankings. Each region is also examined for anomalies in federal expenditure and loan patterns . Each major New Deal program is reviewed as to the states and regions which received the major impact from the federal effort.

In an effort to explain the vast differences in the per capita distribution of New Deal loans and expenditures among the states, multivariate analysis is used. While specific reasons may be cited for high per capita rankings for any given program in any given state, there may have been some general rationale (whether intended or unintended) behind the pattern of New Deal expenditures among states. Three hypotheses have been advanced and tested in this study. These are: (1) that the Roosevelt administration allocated per capita expenditures and loans among with reform as the prime objective; (2) that per capita expenditures and loans were allocated to achieve relief and recovery; and (3) that per capita expenditures and loans were allocated so as to upgrade the nation's resources. Reform is defined in such a way as to mean allocations aimed at improving undesirable socio-economic patterns. These undesirable conditions existed before, as well as during, the depression and are reflected in such demographic, social, and economic variables as per capita income, illiteracy, and home and farm ownership. Relief and recovery is defined as the effort which is expended to return the economy to a pre-1929 level rather than to attempt to reform existing inequities. The need for relief and recovery is measured by the percent decrease in per capita income from 1929 to 1933, rather than the absolute level of per capita income and the rate of unemployment. Two variables are selected to represent investment in the nation's resources--expenditures according to the percent of federal land ownership and expenditures based on the per capita miles of highway.

The analysis suggests that New Deal federal effort was directed toward an improvement in the nation's assets, and toward relief and recovery. The analysis suggests that New Deal loans and expenditures failed to flow in proportional per capita amounts to states with the greatest need for reform.

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