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Taken by Storm: Hurricanes, Migrant Networks, and U.S. Immigration

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  • Parag Mahajan
  • Dean Yang

Abstract

How readily do potential migrants respond to increased returns to migration? Even if origin areas become less attractive vis-à-vis migration destinations, fixed costs can prevent increased migration. We examine migration responses to hurricanes, which reduce the attractiveness of origin locations. Restricted-access U.S. Census data allows precise migration measures and analysis of more migrant-origin countries. Hurricanes increase U.S. immigration, with the effect increasing in the size of prior migrant stocks. Large migrant networks reduce fixed costs by facilitating legal immigration from hurricane-affected source countries. Hurricane-induced immigration can be fully accounted for by new legal permanent residents (“green card” holders).

Suggested Citation

  • Parag Mahajan & Dean Yang, 2017. "Taken by Storm: Hurricanes, Migrant Networks, and U.S. Immigration," Working Papers 17-50, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:17-50
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    Keywords

    Immigration; migrant networks; returns to migration; natural disasters; hurricanes;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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