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Mass Refugee Inflow and Long-Run Prosperity: Lessons from the Greek Population Resettlement

Author

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  • Murard, Elie

    () (Universidad de Alicante)

  • Sakalli, Seyhun Orcan

    () (Université de Lausanne)

Abstract

This paper investigates the long-term consequences of mass refugee inflow on economic development by examining the effect of the first large-scale population resettlement in modern history. After the Greco-Turkish war of 1919–1922, 1.2 million Greek Orthodox were forcibly resettled from Turkey to Greece, increasing the Greek population by more than 20% within a few months. We build a novel geocoded dataset locating settlements of refugees across the universe of more than four thousand Greek municipalities that existed in Greece in 1920. Exploiting the spatial variation in the resettlement location, we find that localities with a greater share of refugees in 1923 have today higher earnings, higher levels of household wealth, greater educational attainment, as well as larger financial and manufacturing sectors. These results hold when comparing spatially contiguous municipalities with identical geographical features and are not driven by pre-settlement differences in initial level of development across localities. The long-run beneficial effects appear to arise from agglomeration economies generated by the large increase in the workforce, occupational specialization, as well as by new industrial know-hows brought by refugees, which fostered early industrialization and economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Murard, Elie & Sakalli, Seyhun Orcan, 2018. "Mass Refugee Inflow and Long-Run Prosperity: Lessons from the Greek Population Resettlement," IZA Discussion Papers 11613, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11613
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    Cited by:

    1. Sascha O. Becker & Irena Grosfeld & Pauline Grosjean & Nico Voigtländer & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2020. "Forced Migration and Human Capital: Evidence from Post-WWII Population Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(5), pages 1430-1463, May.
    2. Fan, Yi, 2020. "Does adversity affect long-term financial behaviour? Evidence from China’s rustication programme," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C).
    3. Hornung, Erik, 2019. "Diasporas, diversity, and economic activity: Evidence from 18th-century Berlin," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1-1.
    4. Arnaud Chevalier & Benjamin Elsner & Andreas Lichter & Nico Pestel, 2018. "Immigrant Voters, Taxation and the Size of the Welfare State," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 994, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    5. Becker, Sascha O. & Ferrara, Andreas, 2019. "Consequences of forced migration: A survey of recent findings," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 1-16.
    6. Belmonte, Alessandro & Di Lillo, Armando, 2018. "From Italianization to Germanization : Division of Labor, Economic Rents, and Anti-German Attitudes in South Tyrol," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 379, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    refugees; immigration; historical persistence; economic development;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-

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