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Emigration in the long run: evidence from two global centuries

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  • Timothy J. Hatton
  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

Abstract

International migration in the last half century is often characterised as following an inexorable upward trend that can only be stemmed by tougher immigration policies in the rich OECD. This view fails to pay sufficient attention to the supply-side forces that drive emigration from poor to rich countries. European mass migrations before 1914 suggest that emigration typically traces out what is sometimes called the 'migration hump' and what we call an 'emigration life cycle'. This paper examines the forces that underlay the mass migration from pre-1914 Europe and compares them with the experience since 1970. Despite the great importance of restrictive immigration policy today, we find the same forces at work in poor source countries today as a century ago. Our results also suggest that, contrary to popular belief, emigration pressure from the Third World is beginning to ease. Copyright © 2009 The Authors; Journal compilation © 2009 Crawford School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd..

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2009. "Emigration in the long run: evidence from two global centuries," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 23(2), pages 17-28, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:apacel:v:23:y:2009:i:2:p:17-28
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-8411.2009.01238.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Williamson Jeffrey G., 1995. "The Evolution of Global Labor Markets since 1830: Background Evidence and Hypotheses," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 141-196, April.
    2. Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2009. "Vanishing Third World Emigrants?," NBER Working Papers 14785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Timothy J. Hatton, 2004. "Seeking asylum in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 19(38), pages 5-62, April.
    4. Easterlin, Richard A., 1981. "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(01), pages 1-17, March.
    5. Pedersen, Peder J. & Pytlikova, Mariola & Smith, Nina, 2008. "Selection and network effects--Migration flows into OECD countries 1990-2000," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1160-1186, October.
    6. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1998. "The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195116519.
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