Earlier this week, Jeremy Land and I received news from Social Science Quarterly that our article on colonial military garrisons had been accepted. In the article, we explain that because quartering troops acts like a tax, the labor supply shock of a large number of soldiers who had to work in colonial cities like Boston and Quebec City to complement their pay was considerable. The abstract is below and the paper is here on my website:
The military occupation of Boston in 1768 shocked the city’s labor market. The soldiers, who were expected to supplement their pay by working for local businesses, constituted an influx equal to 12.5 percent of greater Boston’s population. To assess the importance of this shock, we use the case of Quebec City, which experienced the reverse process (i.e., a reduction in the British military presence from close to 18 percent of the region’s population to less than 1 percent). We argue that, in Boston, the combination of the large influx of soldiers and a heavy tax on the local population in the form of the billeting system caused an important wage reduction while the lighter billeting system of Quebec City and the winding down of the garrison pushed wages up. We tie these experiences to political developments in the 1770s.