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Economic Crises and Migration: Learning from the Past and the Present


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  • Tim Green
  • L. Alan Winters


Abstract This article considers the effects of past economic crises and cycles on migration with a view predicting the effects of the crisis of 2008-10. It then uses very recent data to test these as hypotheses. It examines the great migration to the New World in the nineteenth century (including in response to the Irish potato blight) in some detail because this was largely unhampered by changes in migration policy. It then more briefly looks at twentieth-century experience - the 1930s, the 1970s and Asia in 1997-98. The hypotheses tested are that migration is reduced by downturns in destination countries but hardly affected by the cycle in home countries; that such downturns also lead to some return migration; that existing migrants suffer the effects of downturns more severely than natives and that although downturns may affect the timing of migration policy changes, the latter owe more to underlying secular forces than to short-term shocks. Data from 2008-09 suggest support for each of these hypotheses. Copyright 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal World Economy.

Volume (Year): 33 (2010)
Issue (Month): 9 (09)
Pages: 1053-1072

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Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:33:y:2010:i:9:p:1053-1072

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Cited by:
  1. Klaus Nowotny, 2011. "Welfare Magnets, Taxation and the Location Decisions of Migrants to the EU," ERSA conference papers ersa11p133, European Regional Science Association.


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