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Does population diversity matter for economic development in the very long-term? Historic migration, diversity and county wealth in the US

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  • Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés
  • von Berlepsch, Viola

Abstract

Does population diversity matter for economic development in the long-run? Is there a different impact of diversity across time? This paper traces the short-, medium-, and long-term economic impact of population diversity resulting from the big migration waves of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to the United States (US). Using census data from 1880, 1900, and 1910, the settlement pattern of migrants across the counties of the 48 US continental states is tracked in order to construct measures of population fractionalization and polarization at county level. Factors which may have influenced both the individual settlement decision at the time of migration as well as county-level economic development in recent years are controlled for. The results of the analysis show that high levels of population fractionalization have a strong and positive influence on economic development in the short-, medium-, and long-run. High levels of polarization, by contrast, undermine development. Despite a stronger effect on income levels in the first 30 years, we find these relationships to be extremely long-lasting: counties with a more heterogeneous population composition over 130 years ago are significantly richer today, whereas counties that were strongly polarized at the time of the migration waves have endured persistent negative economic effects.

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  • Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés & von Berlepsch, Viola, 2018. "Does population diversity matter for economic development in the very long-term? Historic migration, diversity and county wealth in the US," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 91024, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:91024
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    Cited by:

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    3. Andrés Rodríguez‐Pose, 2020. "Institutions and the fortunes of territories," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(3), pages 371-386, June.
    4. Jonathan Muringani & Rune Dahl Fitjar & Andres Rodriguez-Pose, 2021. "Social capital and economic growth in the regions of Europe," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 2108, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Feb 2021.
    5. Ricci, Chiara Assunta & Scicchitano, Sergio, 2021. "The role of Great Recession on income polarization by population groups," GLO Discussion Paper Series 766, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    6. Charlie Karlsson & Jonna Rickardsson & Joakim Wincent, 2021. "Diversity, innovation and entrepreneurship: where are we and where should we go in future studies?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 56(2), pages 759-772, February.
    7. Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés & von Berlepsch, Viola, 2019. "The missing ingredient: Distance. Internal migration and its long-term economic impact in the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 13485, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Timothy J Hatton & Zachary Ward, 2018. "International Migration in the Atlantic Economy 1850 - 1940," CEH Discussion Papers 02, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    9. Mariachiara Barzotto & Giancarlo Corò & Ilaria Mariotti & Marco Mutinelli, 2019. "Ownership and workforce composition: a counterfactual analysis of foreign multinationals and Italian uni-national firms," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 46(4), pages 581-607, December.
    10. Chiara Assunta Ricci & Sergio Scicchitano, 2021. "Decomposing changes in income polarization by population group: what happened during the crisis?," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 38(1), pages 235-259, April.

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    Keywords

    diversity; fractionalization; polarization; economic development; counties; USA; 269868;
    All these keywords.

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    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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