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Deconstructing the MonolithThe Microeconomics of the National Industrial Recovery Act$
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Jason E. Taylor

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226603308

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226603445.001.0001

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The President’s Reemployment Agreement of August 1933

The President’s Reemployment Agreement of August 1933

(p.53) 4 The President’s Reemployment Agreement of August 1933
Deconstructing the Monolith

Jason E. Taylor

University of Chicago Press

The President’s Reemployment Agreement has been largely neglected by economic historians of the New Deal. In return for signing and abiding by the PRA’s labor provisions, firms could display the Blue Eagle emblem. What gave this emblem strong economic weight was the Roosevelt administration’s consistent encouragement of the nation’s consumers—through parades, door- to- door canvasses, and speeches—to shop only at firms displaying the Blue Eagle. Furthermore, newspapers printed daily updates showing which firms joined the “honor roll” of PRA signers. In total 2.3 million firms, which together employed 16.3 million workers, signed the PRA. This chapter documents how effective the government was in bringing about compliance with the PRA. In fact, the average hourly earnings in manufacturing industries jumped over 17 percent between July and September of 1933 while the average hours worked per week fell 16 percent over the same time period. Still, these effects varied by industry—low-wage industries such as cotton and wool manufacturing saw hourly earnings rise 50 percent while high-wage industries such as machinery saw hourly earnings rise only 14 percent.

Keywords:   President's Reemployment Agreement, Blue Eagle, labor policy

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