European migration, national origin and long-term economic development in the US
Have Irish, German or Italian settlers arriving in the US at the turn of the 20th century left an institutional trace which determines economic development differences to this day? Does the national origin of migrants matter for long-term development? This paper explores whether the distinct geographical settlement patterns of European migrants according to national origin affected economic development across US counties. It uses micro-data from the 1880 and 1910 censuses in order to identify where migrants from different nationalities settled and then regresses these patterns on current levels of economic development, using both OLS and instrumental variable approaches. The analysis controls for a number of factors which would have determined both the attractiveness of different US counties at the time of migration, as well as current levels of development. The results indicate that while there is a strong and positive impact associated with overall migration, the national origin of migrants does not make a difference for the current levels of economic development of US counties.
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