IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Migration and Human Capital Formation; Theory and Evidence From the U.S. High School Movement


  • Rodney Ramcharan


In 1910, 12 percent of American 14-17 year olds were enrolled in high school; by 1930, enrollment had increased to 50 percent; enrollment in Britain was 12 percent in 1950. This paper argues that by increasing the skill premium, the massive inflows of European unskilled immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century engendered America's sharp rise in human capital investment. The increased enrollments raised the supply of schools, leading to continued schooling investment. Cross section evidence and a VAR analysis of the time series data support the hypothesized role of immigration in generating the high school movement.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodney Ramcharan, 2002. "Migration and Human Capital Formation; Theory and Evidence From the U.S. High School Movement," IMF Working Papers 02/123, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:02/123

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Claudia Goldin, 1999. "Egalitarianism and the Returns to Education during the Great Transformation of American Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 65-94, December.
    2. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709.
    3. Eric A. Hanushek & Dongwook Kim, 1995. "Schooling, Labor Force Quality, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5399, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    5. Paul Krugman, 1991. "History versus Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 651-667.
    6. Claudia Goldin & Hugh Rockoff, 1992. "Strategic Factors in Nineteenth Century American Economic History: A Volume to Honor Robert W. Fogel," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold92-1, January.
    7. George J. Borjas, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-150.
    8. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809.
    9. Hendry, David F, 1988. "The Encompassing Implications of Feedback versus Feedforward Mechanisms in Econometrics," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(1), pages 132-149, March.
    10. Robert H. Topel, 1997. "Factor Proportions and Relative Wages: The Supply-Side Determinants of Wage Inequality," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 55-74, Spring.
    11. Robert E. Gallman & John Joseph Wallis, 1992. "American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gall92-1, January.
    12. Landes, William M. & Solmon, Lewis C., 1972. "Compulsory Schooling Legislation: An Economic Analysis of Law and Social Change in the Nineteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(01), pages 54-91, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ricardo Da Costa Nunes & Selene Peres Peres Nunes, 2004. "O papel dos Fundos de Participação dos Estados - FPE na convergência da renda per capita dos estados brasileiros," Revista de Economía y Estadística, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Instituto de Economía y Finanzas, vol. 0(2), pages 89-103, July.
    2. Wido Geis, 2009. "Does Educational Choice Erode the Immigration Surplus?," ifo Working Paper Series 80, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    3. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2006. "Inequality and schooling responses to globalization forces: lessons from history," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, pages 225-248.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:02/123. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jim Beardow) or (Hassan Zaidi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.