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Immigration, Industrial Revolution and Urban Growth in the United States, 1820-1920: Factor Endowments, Technology and Geography

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  • Sukkoo Kim

Abstract

Industrial revolution is fundamentally linked with the rise of factories and the decline of skilled artisans in manufacturing. Most scholars agree that factories as compared to artisan shops were intensive in unskilled labor. Indeed, the hallmark of the early factories is the utilization of division of labor of relatively unskilled workers. This paper explores whether the massive influx of unskilled immigrants between 1840 and 1920, by significantly increasing the ratio of unskilled to skilled labor endowment, contributed to the growth and spread of factory manufacturing in the United States. The data indicate that immigration not only contributed to the growth and spread of factories but it also contributed to the growth of cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Sukkoo Kim, 2007. "Immigration, Industrial Revolution and Urban Growth in the United States, 1820-1920: Factor Endowments, Technology and Geography," NBER Working Papers 12900, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12900
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Xie, Bin, 2017. "The Effects of Immigration Quotas on Wages, the Great Black Migration, and Industrial Development," IZA Discussion Papers 11214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Teruel Carrizosa , Mercedes & Segarra Blasco , Agustí, 2009. "Immigration and Firm Performance: a city-level approach," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 15, pages 111-137.
    3. Lewis, Ethan & Peri, Giovanni, 2015. "Immigration and the Economy of Cities and Regions," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    4. Jedwab, Remi & Vollrath, Dietrich, 2015. "Urbanization without growth in historical perspective," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 1-21.
    5. Philipp Ager & Casper Worm Hansen, 2016. "National Immigration Quotas and Local Economic Growth," Discussion Papers 16-11, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    6. Burton A. Abrams & Jing Li & James G. Mulligan, 2012. "Capital Intensity and U.S. Country Population Growth during the Late Nineteenth Century," Working Papers 12-02, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
    7. Mercedes Teruel-Carrizosa & Agustí Segarra-Blasco, 2008. "Immigration and Firm Growth: Evidence from Spanish cities," Working Papers XREAP2008-11, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Nov 2008.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
    • N6 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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