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Transatlantic wage gaps and the migration decision: Europe–Canada in the 1920s

Author

Listed:
  • Alex Armstrong

    (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)

  • Frank D. Lewis

    () (Department of Economics, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada)

Abstract

As has been seen in other contexts, workers in similar occupations earned much higher wages in Canada than Europe during the 1920s. This observation and related aspects of immigration are addressed with a life-cycle model of the migration decision. The characteristics of immigrants from five European countries: Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden, are explored in a way that sheds light not just on those population flows but on the process of immigration generally. We draw on passenger manifests from immigrant ships for information on the individual migrants. Simulations, based partly on the these manifests, reveal that the costs of migration, borrowing constraints, concern for status, and country-specific taste preferences account for key immigrant characteristics, and help explain the large wage differentials that persisted despite Canada’s relatively open immigration policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Armstrong & Frank D. Lewis, 2017. "Transatlantic wage gaps and the migration decision: Europe–Canada in the 1920s," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 11(2), pages 153-182, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:11:y:2017:i:2:p:153-182
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11698-016-0141-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy J Hatton & Zachary Ward, 2018. "International Migration in the Atlantic Economy 1850 - 1940," CEH Discussion Papers 02, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Immigration; Wage differentials; Borrowing constraints; Status;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-

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