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To the New World and Back Again: Return Migrants in the Age of Mass Migration

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  • Ran Abramitzky
  • Leah Platt Boustan
  • Katherine Eriksson

Abstract

We compile large datasets from Norwegian and US historical censuses to study return migration during the Age of Mass Migration (1850-1913). Return migrants were somewhat negatively selected from the migrant pool: Norwegian immigrants who returned to Norway held slightly lower-paid occupations than Norwegian immigrants who stayed in the US, both before and after moving to the US. Upon returning to Norway, return migrants held higher-paid occupations than Norwegians who never moved, despite hailing from poorer backgrounds. They were also more likely to get married after return. These patterns suggest that despite being negatively selected, return migrants were able to accumulate savings and improve their economic circumstances once they returned home.

Suggested Citation

  • Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2016. "To the New World and Back Again: Return Migrants in the Age of Mass Migration," NBER Working Papers 22659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22659
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Abdurrahman Aydemir & Chris Robinson, 2008. "Global labour markets, return, and onward migration," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1285-1311, November.
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    6. Bandiera, Oriana & Rasul, Imran & Viarengo, Martina, 2013. "The Making of Modern America: Migratory Flows in the Age of Mass Migration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 23-47.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Escamilla-Guerrero, 2020. "Revisiting Mexican migration in the Age of Mass Migration: New evidence from individual border crossings," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(4), pages 207-225, October.
    2. Lee, Jongkwan & Peri, Giovanni & Yasenov, Vasil, 2019. "The Labor Market Effects of Mexican Repatriations: Longitudinal Evidence from the 1930s," IZA Discussion Papers 12689, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Fernihough, Alan & Ó Gráda, Cormac, 2019. "Across the sea to Ireland: Return Atlantic migration before the First World War," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2019-08, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    4. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson & James J. Feigenbaum & Santiago Pérez, 2019. "Automated Linking of Historical Data," NBER Working Papers 25825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Marina Gindelsky, 2019. "Testing the acculturation of the 1.5 generation in the United States: Is there a “critical” age of migration?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 31-65, March.
    6. Karen Clay & Ethan J. Schmick & Werner Troesken, 2020. "Changes in Black-White Inequality: Evidence from the Boll Weevil," NBER Working Papers 27101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. David Escamilla-Guerrero, 2019. "Revisiting Mexican migration in the Age of Mass Migration. New evidence from individual border crossings," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _173, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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