Richard B. Baker

School of Business
The College of New Jersey
2000 Pennington Road
Ewing, NJ 08628

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Institutional Affiliation: The College of New Jersey

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2018Long-run Impacts of Agricultural Shocks on Educational Attainment: Evidence from the Boll Weevil
with John Blanchette, Katherine Eriksson: w25400
The boll weevil spread across the Southern United States from 1892 to 1922 having a devastating impact on cotton cultivation. The resulting shift away from this child labor–intensive crop lowered the opportunity cost of attending school, and thus the pest increased school enrollment and attendance. We investigate the insect’s long run affect on educational attainment using a sample of adults in 1940 linked back to themselves in childhood in the county in which they were likely educated. Both whites and blacks who were young (ages 4 to 9) when the boll weevil arrived saw increased educational attainment by 0.25 to 0.35 years. These findings are not driven by concurrent shocks and are not sensitive to linking method or sample selection. Our results demonstrate the potential for conflict betw...

Published: Richard B. Baker & John Blanchette & Katherine Eriksson, 2020. "Long-Run Impacts of Agricultural Shocks on Educational Attainment: Evidence from the Boll Weevil," The Journal of Economic History, vol 80(1), pages 136-174. citation courtesy of

November 2018Political Discretion and Antitrust Policy: Evidence from the Assassination of President McKinley
with Carola Frydman, Eric Hilt: w25237
We study the importance of discretion in antitrust enforcement by analyzing the response of asset prices to the sudden accession of Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency. During McKinley’s term in office the largest wave of merger activity in American history occurred, and his administration did not attempt to use antitrust laws to restrain any of those mergers. His vice president, Theodore Roosevelt, was known to be a Progressive reformer and much more interested in controlling anticompetitive behavior. We find that firms with greater vulnerability to antitrust enforcement saw greater declines in their abnormal returns following McKinley’s assassination. The transition from McKinley to Roosevelt caused one of the most significant changes in antitrust enforcement of the Gilded Age—not from ...
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