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Capital Constraints and European Migration to Canada: Evidence from the 1920s Passenger Lists

  • Alexander Armstrong

    ()

    (Queen's University)

  • Frank Lewis

    ()

    (Queen's University)

The difficulty or inability to borrow made capital market constraints an important part of the decision of potential emigrants to move from Europe to North America. We formalize the constraint with a life-cycle model, where agents jointly choose the optimal period of saving to finance migration and whether to migrate. Simulations of the model point to the potential role of preferences, the period of adjustment after arrival, and the direct migration costs in determining who will migrate and at what age; and they help account for the large wage gaps between the Old and New World. Our analysis of data from the passenger manifests of Dutch arrivals at Canadian ports from 1925 to 1927, that importantly include the saving of these immigrants, points to the promise of this approach to international migration.

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File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1230.pdf
File Function: First version 2009
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Paper provided by Queen's University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1230.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1230
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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.
  2. Frank D. Lewis, 2001. "Farm settlement with imperfect capital markets: a life-cycle application to Upper Canada, 1826-1851," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(1), pages 174-195, February.
  3. Del Boca, Daniela & Venturini, Alessandra, 2003. "Italian Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 938, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Green, Alan & MacKinnon, Mary, 2001. "The Slow Assimilation of British Immigrants in Canada: Evidence from Montreal and Toronto, 1901," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 315-338, July.
  5. Michael G. Abbott & Charles M. Beach, 1993. "Immigrant Earnings Differentials and Birth-Year Effects for Men in Canada: Post-war-1972," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(3), pages 505-24, August.
  6. 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.
  7. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
  8. Greenwood, Michael J., 2007. "Modeling the age and age composition of late 19th century U.S. immigrants from Europe," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 255-269, April.
  9. Grubb, Farley, 1985. "The incidence of servitude in trans-Atlantic migration, 1771-1804," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 316-339, July.
  10. Grubb, Farley, 1994. "The End of European Immigrant Servitude in the United States: An Economic Analysis of Market Collapse, 1772–1835," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(04), pages 794-824, December.
  11. Green Alan G. & Green David A., 1993. "Balanced Growth and the Geographical Distribution of European Immigrant Arrivals to Canada, 1900-1912," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 31-59, January.
  12. Grubb, Farley, 1986. "Redemptioner Immigration to Pennsylvania: Evidence on Contract Choice and Profitability," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 407-418, June.
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