Co-author(s): Dominick Bartelme, Zhimin Li

Abstract: This paper examines the impact of WWII on U.S. economic geography. We approach this question empirically, theoretically, and quantitatively. Our empirical results show positive long run effects of WWII spending on overall population and manufacturing activity only in counties with initially low manufacturing employment. Motivated by these findings, we develop a multisector economic geography model that features external economies of scale in manufacturing with non-constant elasticity. We structurally estimate the model and show that an S-shaped scale function allows the model to match our empirical moments. We use the estimated model to re-examine how WWII shaped the evolution of U.S. postwar economic geography.