Recessions, Mortality, and Migration Bias: Evidence from the Lancashire Cotton Famine | Abstract

We examine the health effects of the Lancashire Cotton Famine, a sharp downturn in Britain’s cotton textile manufacturing regions that was induced by the US Civil War. Migration was an important response to this downturn, but as we document, migration also introduces a number of empirical challenges, which we overcome by introducing a new methodological approach. Our results indicate that the recession increased mortality among households employed in the cotton textile industry. We also document localized spillover effects on households providing nontradable services in the areas affected by the recession.