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A city of trades: Spanish and Italian immigrants in late-nineteenth-century Buenos Aires, Argentina

Author

Listed:
  • Leticia Arroyo Abad

    (Middlebury College)

  • Blanca Sánchez-Alonso

    () (Universidad CEU San Pablo)

Abstract

Abstract The city of Buenos Aires in the 1890s is an extreme case in immigration history since the native workers accounted for less than one-third of the labour force. In this paper, we look at the labour market performance of Argentineans vis-à-vis the largest two immigrant groups, Italians and the Spaniards. We find that, on average, Argentineans enjoyed higher wages, but workers specialised in particular occupations by nationality. Immigrants clustered in occupations with lower salaries. Despite higher literacy levels and the language advantage, Spaniards did not outperform Italians in earnings. Ethnic networks facilitated the integration of immigrants into the host society and played a role in the occupation selection of immigrants. Our results suggest that Italian prosperity in Buenos Aires was not based on superior earnings or skills but on older and powerful networks.

Suggested Citation

  • Leticia Arroyo Abad & Blanca Sánchez-Alonso, 2018. "A city of trades: Spanish and Italian immigrants in late-nineteenth-century Buenos Aires, Argentina," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 12(2), pages 343-376, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:cliomt:v:12:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11698-017-0164-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s11698-017-0164-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Migration; Wages; Networks; Labour force; Buenos Aires;

    JEL classification:

    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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