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International Migration in the Long-Run: Positive Selection, Negative Selection and Policy

  • Hatton, Timothy J.

    ()

    (University of Essex)

  • Williamson, Jeffrey G.

    ()

    (Harvard University)

Most labor scarce overseas countries moved decisively to restrict their immigration during the first third of the 20th century. This autarchic retreat from unrestricted and even publicly-subsidized immigration in the first global century before World War I to the quotas and bans introduced afterwards was the result of a combination of factors: public hostility towards new immigrants of lower quality, public assessment of the impact of those immigrants on a deteriorating labor market, political participation of those impacted, and, as a triggering mechanism, the sudden shocks to the labor market delivered by the 1890s depression, the Great War, postwar adjustment and the great depression. The paper documents the secular drift from very positive to much more negative immigrant selection which took place in the first global century after 1820 and in the second global century after 1950, and seeks explanations for it. It then explores the political economy of immigrant restriction in the past and seeks historical lessons for the present.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1304.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: D. Snower (ed.) Labour Mobility and the World Economy, Kiel: Kiel Institute for World Economics, 2005
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1304
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  1. Lutz Hendricks, 2002. "How Important Is Human Capital for Development? Evidence from Immigrant Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 198-219, March.
  2. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1994. "The Performance of Immigrants in the Canadian Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 369-405, July.
  3. George J. Borjas, 1993. "Immigration Policy, National Origin, and Immigrant Skills: A Comparison of Canada and the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 21-44 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Anna Maria Mayda (Georgetown University), 2005. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes towards Immigrants," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-10, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
  6. Minns, Chris, 2000. "Income, Cohort Effects, and Occupational Mobility: A New Look at Immigration to the United States at the Turn of the 20th Century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 326-350, October.
  7. Daniel Chiquiar & Gordon H. Hanson, 2002. "International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," NBER Working Papers 9242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hatton, T J & Boyer, G R & Bailey, R E, 1994. "The Union Wage Effect in Late Nineteenth Century Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 61(244), pages 435-56, November.
  9. Hatton, Timothy J., 1997. "The Immigrant Assimilation Puzzle in Late Nineteenth-Centuty America," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(01), pages 34-62, March.
  10. Heather Antecol & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Stephen J. Trejo, 2003. "Immigration Policy and the Skills of Immigrants to Australia, Canada, and the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1).
  11. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, June.
  12. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Richard Sinnott, 2004. "The Determinants of Individual Attitudes Towards Immigration," Trinity Economics Papers 20042, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  13. Rosenberg, Nathan, 1967. "Anglo-American Wage Differences in the 1820's," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(02), pages 221-229, June.
  14. Ximena Clark & Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2002. "Where Do U.S. Immigrants Come From, and Why?," NBER Working Papers 8998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1986. "The Impact of the Irish on British Labor Markets During the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(03), pages 693-720, September.
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