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Mass Migration and Technological Change

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  • Andersson, David
  • Karadja, Mounir
  • Prawitz, Erik

    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

Abstract

This paper studies the effect of emigration on technological change in sending locations after one of the largest migration events in human history, the mass migration from Europe to the United States in the 19th century. To establish causality, we adopt an instrumental variable strategy that combines local growing-season frost shocks with proximity to emigration ports. We document two sets of results. First, using novel data on technological patents, we find that emigration led to an increase in innovative activity in sending municipalities. Moreover, the increase in innovation is coupled with an increased adoption of new technologies in both the agricultural and industrial sectors. Second, in terms of local economic development, we find that emigration led to higher unskilled wages in agriculture, a shift towards employment in the nascent industrial sector, a larger presence of incorporated firms, as well as higher tax revenues.

Suggested Citation

  • Andersson, David & Karadja, Mounir & Prawitz, Erik, 2020. "Mass Migration and Technological Change," SocArXiv 74ub8, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:74ub8
    DOI: 10.31219/osf.io/74ub8
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    Cited by:

    1. Erminia Florio, 2019. "The Legacy of Historical Emigration: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," CEIS Research Paper 478, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 16 Dec 2019.

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