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Making sense of immigration policy : Argentina, 1870-1930

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  • Sánchez-Alonso, Blanca

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to disentangle the different forces shaping Argentine immigration policy from 1870 to 1930. Although immigration restrictions increased over time Argentina remained relatively open to mass migration until the 1930s in contrast with the United States. The quantitative evidence presented here suggests that there were economic reasons to restrict immigration prior to the 1930s, namely rising inequality and a declining demand for workers. Labour in Argentina would have been better off with a more restrictive immigration policy since 1900. However, labour interests could not be translated into Parliament in a direct way as in countries with a wide electoral franchise and high political participation like the United States. In Argentina a large share of workers did not have the right to vote simply because they were foreigners. Those negatively affected by massive immigration developed alternative actions: general strikes, labour unrest and violence. Political and social fear finally pushed those who had more to gain from an abundant supply of labour to introduce immigration restrictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Sánchez-Alonso, Blanca, 2010. "Making sense of immigration policy : Argentina, 1870-1930," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp10-14, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:wp10-14
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    File URL: https://e-archivo.uc3m.es/bitstream/handle/10016/9737/wp_10_14.pdf?sequence=1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Weingast, Barry R. & Wittman, Donald, 2008. "The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199548477.
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    1. repec:bdi:workqs:qse_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Matteo Gomellini & Cormac O' Grada, 2011. "Outward and Inward Migrations in Italy: A Historical Perspective," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 08, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Immigration policy;

    JEL classification:

    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy

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