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The effects of refugee and non-refugee immigrants on US trade with their home countries


  • Roger White
  • Bedassa Tadesse


Employing data on US immigrants and trade with 59 home countries for the years 1996-2001, we compare the extent to which refugee and non-refugee immigrants affect US trade with their home countries and provide the first evidence of variation in the US immigrant-trade relationship across immigrant types. We also consider the abilities of refugee and non-refugee immigrants to offset the trade-inhibiting influence of cultural distance. Our results show that while immigrants, in general, exert positive influences on US imports from - and exports to - their home countries, the influence of refugee immigrants is quite minimal when compared with that of non-refugee immigrants. For both immigrant types, however, evidence supporting the notion that immigrants act to offset cultural distance is observed. To conceptualize the economic meaning of our results, we provide estimates of the extent to which each type of immigrants offset transport costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger White & Bedassa Tadesse, 2010. "The effects of refugee and non-refugee immigrants on US trade with their home countries," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 289-317.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:19:y:2010:i:2:p:289-317 DOI: 10.1080/09638190903217537

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Christopher R. Parsons & L. Alan Winters, 2014. "International migration, trade and aid: a survey," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development, chapter 4, pages 65-112 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Ghosh, Sucharita & Enami, Ali, 2015. "Do refugee-immigrants affect international trade? Evidence from the world's largest refugee case," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 291-307.
    3. Hatzigeorgiou, Andreas & Lodefalk, Magnus, 2017. "Anti-Migration as a Threat to Internationalization?," Ratio Working Papers 302, The Ratio Institute.
    4. Robert E.B. Lucas, 2014. "The migration–trade link in developing economies: a summary and extension of evidence," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development, chapter 11, pages 288-326 Edward Elgar Publishing.


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