The impact of a local human capital shock: evidence from World War II veterans

Jongkwan Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a result of the GI Bill, returning World War II veterans were generally highly educated, but their locations following the war were highly uneven across cities in the USA. Exploiting the spatial variation in these returning veterans driven by prewar communities of veterans, I study the long-run persistence of an increase in local human capital. While there is strong persistence in skills across cities, this shock produced a large and uneven increase in local skills after the war. Furthermore, this positive shock had long-lasting effects on local human capital from 1940 to 2010.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1765-1798
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Population Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I thank editor Alfonso Flores-Lagunes and two anonymous referees for their suggestions and guidance. I would like to thank Giovanni Peri, Gregory Clark, and Marianne Page for their insights, guidance, and support. I also thank Katherine Eriksson, Michel Grosz, Paco Martorell, Christopher Meissner, Andrew Padovani, Vasil Yasenov, Hee-Seung Yang, Serena Rhee, and the seminar participants at All-California Labor Economics Conference 2016, All-UC History Workshop 2016, Asian Meeting of the Econometric Society 2018, Asian and Australasian Society of Labour Economics Conference 2019, UC Davis, Saint Louis University, Korea Labor Institute, Korea University, Seoul National University, Yonsei University, and Korea Development Institute for their helpful comments. All remaining errors are mine.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Ewha Womans University Research Grant of 2021.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • GI Bill
  • Local human capital
  • Persistence
  • Veterans


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