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International Migration Responses to Modern Europe’s Most Destructive Earthquake: Messina and Reggio Calabria, 1908

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  • Yannay Spitzer
  • Gaspare Tortorici
  • Ariell Zimran

Abstract

The Messina-Reggio Calabria Earthquake (1908) was the most devastating natural disaster in modern European history. It occurred when overseas mass emigration from southern Italy was at its peak and international borders were open, making emigration a readily available option for relief. We study the effects of this disaster on international migration. We find that there was no large positive impact on emigration on average. There were, however, heterogeneous responses, with a more positive effect where agricultural day laborers comprised a larger share of the labor force, suggesting that attachment to the land limited an emigration response.

Suggested Citation

  • Yannay Spitzer & Gaspare Tortorici & Ariell Zimran, 2020. "International Migration Responses to Modern Europe’s Most Destructive Earthquake: Messina and Reggio Calabria, 1908," NBER Working Papers 27506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27506
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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