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Moving to the right place at the right time: Economic effects on migrants of the Manchuria Plague of 1910–11

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  • Li, Dan
  • Li, Nan

Abstract

How do initial arrival conditions in a host locality affect migrants’ subsequent economic welfare? Manchuria (Northeast China), which attracted millions of migrants from North China during the first half of the twentieth century, experienced a devastating pneumonic plague outbreak in 1910–11. Using data from a rural household survey in the mid-1930s, we explore how the post-plague conditions in various villages affected migrant cohorts’ long-term wealth accumulation. We find that the migrant households that moved to plague-hit villages soon after the plague ended prospered the most: they owned at least 112% more land than migrant households that either moved elsewhere or migrated to the same village before or long after the plague outbreak. Our results are robust after controlling for factors that influence the long-term wealth accumulation of migrants and are not caused by selection.

Suggested Citation

  • Li, Dan & Li, Nan, 2017. "Moving to the right place at the right time: Economic effects on migrants of the Manchuria Plague of 1910–11," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 91-106.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:63:y:2017:i:c:p:91-106
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2016.11.001
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