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Migrant Networks and Trade: The Vietnamese Boat People as a Natural Experiment

  • Christopher PARSONS

    (University of Oxford)

  • Pierre-Louis VÉZINA

    (University of Oxford)

We provide cogent evidence for the causal pro-trade effect of migrants and in doing so establish an important link between migrant networks and long-run economic development. To this end, we exploit a unique event in human history, the exodus of the Vietnamese Boat People to the US. This episode represents an ideal natural experiment as the large immigration shock, the first wave of which comprised refugees exogenously allocated across the US, occurred over a twentyyear period during which time the US imposed a complete trade embargo on Vietnam. Following the lifting of trade restrictions in 1994, the share of US exports going to Vietnam was higher and more diversified in those US States with larger Vietnamese populations, themselves the result of larger refugee inflows 20 years earlier.

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Paper provided by Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) in its series Working Papers with number DP-2014-09.

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Length: 51 pages.
Date of creation: Sep 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:era:wpaper:dp-2014-09
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  1. Treb Allen, 2014. "Information Frictions in Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82, pages 2041-2083, November.
  2. Dahlberg, Matz & Edmark, Karin & Lundqvist, Heléne, 2011. "Ethnic Diversity and Preferences for Redistribution," Working Paper Series 2011:1, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  3. James A. Dunlevy, 2006. "The Influence of Corruption and Language on the Protrade Effect of Immigrants: Evidence from the American States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 182-186, February.
  4. David Card, 1990. "The impact of the Mariel boatlift on the Miami labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(2), pages 245-257, January.
  5. Anna Piil Damm & Christian Dustmann, 2013. "Does Growing Up in a High Crime Neighborhood Affect Youth Criminal Behavior?," Economics Working Papers 2013-17, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  6. Brian McCaig, 2009. "Exporting Out of Poverty: Provincial Poverty in Vietnam and U.S. Market Access," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2009-502, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  7. Chen Bo & David S. Jacks, 2012. "Trade, Variety, and Immigration," NBER Working Papers 17963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Genc, Murat & Gheasi, Masood & Nijkamp, Peter & Poot, Jacques, 2011. "The Impact of Immigration on International Trade: A Meta-Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 6145, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 1999. "Ethnic Chinese Networks in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 7189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Lauren Cohen & Umit G. Gurun & Christopher J. Malloy, 2012. "Resident Networks and Firm Trade," NBER Working Papers 18312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California’s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
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