Areas of Expertise
- Economic History
- Labor Economics
- Political Economy and Regulation
- Law and Economics
Professor Fishback is involved in a long-term study of the political economy of Roosevelt’s New Deal during the 1930s. The research examines both the determinants of New Deal spending and loans and their impact on local economies throughout the U.S. He is continuing his work on state labor legislation during the Progressive Era, the American Economy during World War II, and performing additional studies on changes in agriculture in response to climate, government policy, and technology. His past work includes studies of the origins of workers’ compensation, company towns, coal miners, compensating differentials for workplace risks, workplace safety regulation, corruption, labor markets in the late 19th and early 20 th centuries, and discrimination in labor markets and by governments.
Publications and Working Papers
- Well Worth Saving: How the New Deal Safeguarded Home Ownership, with Jonathan Rose and Kenneth Snowden. 2013. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
- Government and the American Economy: A New History.Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Editor and Organizer of co-authored book with Robert Higgs, Gary Libecap, John Wallis, Stanley Engerman, Jeffrey Hummel, Sumner LaCroix, Robert Margo, Robert McGuire, Richard Sylla, Lee Alston, Joseph Ferrie, Mark Guglielmo, E.C. Pasour, Jr., Randal Rucker, and Werner Troesken
- Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers' Compensation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. With Shawn E. Kantor.
- Soft Coal, Hard Choices: The Economic Welfare of Bituminous Coal Miners, 1890 to 1930. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
Selected Journal Articles
- “How Successful Was the New Deal? The Microeconomic Impact of New Deal Spending and Lending Policies” Journal of Economic Literature. Forthcoming. Currently, National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Number w21925, 2016.
- “Flip the Switch: The Spatial Impact of the Rural Electrification Administration 1935-1940.” With Carl Kitchens, 2014. Journal of Economic History 75 (December): 1161-1195.
- “The Multiplier for Federal Spending in the States During the Great Depression.’ With Valentina Kachanovskaya. Journal of Economic History 75 (March 2015): 125-162.
- “Comparisons of Weekly Hours Over the Past Century and the Importance of Work Sharing Policies in the 1930s,” with Todd Neumann and Jason Taylor. American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings 102 (May 2013): 105-110.
- “Second World War Spending and Local Economic Activity in U.S. Counties, 1939-1958.” Economic History Review. 2013. Previously Did Big Government’s Largesse Help the Locals? The Implications of WWII Spending for Local Economic Activity, 1939-1958, NBER Working Paper Number 12801.
- Striking at the Roots of Crime: The Impact of Social Welfare Spending on Crime During the Great Depression," Journal of Law and Economics 53 (November 2010): 715-740. with Ryan Johnson and Shawn Kantor.
- “Births, Deaths, and New Deal Relief During the Great Depression.” Review of Economics and Statistics 89 (February 2007): 1-14 with Michael Haines and Shawn Kantor.
- "The Impact of New Deal Expenditures on Local Economic Activity: An Examination of Retail Sales, 1929-1939" with William C. Horrace and Shawn Kantor. Journal of Economic History (March 2005): 36-71. Reprinted in The Seminal Works of the Great Depression, edited by Randall Parker. Edward Elgar Press, 2011.
- "The Adoption of Workers' Compensation in the United States , 1890-1930," Journal of Law and Economics 41(October 1998): 305-342. With Shawn E. Kantor.
- "Operations of 'Unfettered' Labor Markets: Exit and Voice in American Labor Markets at the Turn of the Century," Journal of Economic Literature 36 (June 1998): 722-765.
- "Precautionary Saving, Insurance, and the Origins of Workers' Compensation, Journal of Political Economy 104 (April 1996), pp. 419-442, with Shawn E. Kantor.
- "Did Workers Gain from the Passage of Workers' Compensation Laws?," Quarterly Journal of Economics 110 (August 1995), pp. 713-742, with Shawn Kantor.
- "'Square Deal' or Raw Deal? Market Compensation for Workplace Disamenities, 1884-1903," with Shawn Kantor, Journal of Economic History 52 (December 1992), pp. 826-848.
- "Narrowing the Black-White Gap in Child-Literacy in 1910: The Roles of School Inputs and Family Inputs," with John H. Baskin, Review of Economics and Statistics 73 (November 1991): 725-728.
- "Can Competition Among Employers Reduce Governmental Discrimination? Coal Companies and Segregated Schools in West Virginia during the Early 1900s." Journal of Law and Economics, (October 1989): 311-328.
- "Did Coal Miners 'Owe Their Souls to the Company Store'? Theory and Evidence from the Early 1900s." Journal of Economic History 46 (December 1986): 1011-29.
- "Workplace Safety During the Progressive Era: Fatal Accidents in Bituminous Coal Mining, 1912-1923." Explorations in Economic History 23 (July 1986): 269-298.
- "The Distribution of Income in the Great Depression: Preliminary State Estimates," Journal of Economic History 43 (March 1983): 217-230, with Mark Schmitz.
- Rule of Law in Labor Relations, 1898-1940. Fishback. 2018
Awards and Honors
- Arthur Cole Prize for Best Article in the Journal of Economic History between 8/1/2014 and 7/31/2015, shared with Valentina Kachanovskaya for “The Multiplier for the States in the Great Depression.’ Volume 75 (March 2015): 125-162.
- Fellow of the Cliometric Society, inducted June 2013.
- IPUMS-USA/IPUMS-CPS Research Awards for Published Work. 2010. Co-winner for “The Effect of Internal Migration on Local Labor Markets: American Cities During the Great Depression.” Journal of Labor Economics 28 (October 2010): 719-746 with Leah Platt Boustan and Shawn Kantor. Awarded by the Minnesota Population Center.
- “Cliometrics Can,” Cliometrics Society Award for Exceptional Support for the Field of Cliometrics, May 2002.
- Paul Samuelson Award, Certificate of Excellence For Outstanding Scholarly Writing on Lifelong Financial Security for A Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers’ Compensation, with Shawn E. Kantor. Award presented by the TIAA-CREF Institute for works published in the year 2000.
- Richard A. Lester Prize for the Outstanding Book in Labor Economics and Industrial Relations published in 2000, awarded annually by the Industrial Relations Section at Princeton University , shared with Shawn Kantor.
- Cole Prize, awarded for the best article in the Journal of Economic History in 1996-1997, shared with Shawn Kantor.
- Finalist for Nevins Prize, 1983, awarded to the leading dissertation in American Economic History.
- University of Arizona Graduate College Teaching and Mentoring Award in February 2016.
- Jonathan R.T. Hughes Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Economic History from the Economic History Association in September 2015.
- 11 MBA Awards for Outstanding or Distinguished Faculty (Daytime Program: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2010, 2009, 2004, 2003, 2000; Executive Program: 2011, 2009; Weekend Program: 1999).
- Swift Teaching Award in the Economics Department, University of Georgia , Spring 1984.
- Honors Day Recognition for Outstanding Teaching in the Economics Department, University of Georgia , 1983, 1984, 1986.