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Europe's Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses: Self-Selection and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration

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  • Ran Abramitzky
  • Leah Platt Boustan
  • Katherine Eriksson

Abstract

During the age of mass migration (1850-1913), one of the largest migration episodes in history, the United States maintained a nearly open border, allowing the study of migrant decisions unhindered by entry restrictions. We estimate the return to migration while accounting for migrant selection by comparing Norway-to-US migrants with their brothers who stayed in Norway in the late nineteenth century. We also compare fathers of migrants and nonmigrants by wealth and occupation. We find that the return to migration was relatively low (70 percent) and that migrants from urban areas were negatively selected from the sending population. (JEL J11, J61, N31, N33)

Suggested Citation

  • Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2012. "Europe's Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses: Self-Selection and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1832-1856, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:5:p:1832-56
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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