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A city of trades: Spanish and Italian Immigrants in Late Nineteenth Century Buenos Aires. Argentina


  • Leticia Arroyo Abad

    () (Middlebury College)

  • Blanca Sánschez-Alonso

    () (Universidad CEU-San Pablo)


The city of Buenos Aires is an extreme case in immigration history since the native workers were less than one third of the labour force. This paper is the first attempt to present empirical evidence on occupations and wages for Buenos Aires ca. 1890s. Using a large dataset, we look at the performance of Argentineans vis-ˆ-vis the largest two immigrant groups, the Italians and the Spaniards. We find that, on average, Argentineans enjoyed a higher wages; however, this group did not dominate all skill levels. We find skill specialisation by nationality. Despite higher literacy levels and the language advantage, Spaniards did not outperform Italians when looking at earnings and access to homeownership. With deeper and older ties to the community, Italians formed richer networks that helped their fellow countrymen in the host labour market.

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  • Leticia Arroyo Abad & Blanca Sánschez-Alonso, 2015. "A city of trades: Spanish and Italian Immigrants in Late Nineteenth Century Buenos Aires. Argentina," Working Papers 0088, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0088

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Juif, Dácil, 2015. "Skill Selectivity In Transatlantic Migration: The Case Of Canary Islanders In Cuba," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(02), pages 189-222, September.
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    More about this item


    migration; wages; labour force; Buenos Aires;

    JEL classification:

    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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