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The Legacy of Historical Emigration: Evidence from Italian Municipalities

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Abstract

I analyze the effect of historical emigration on today’s attitudes towards immigration in Italy. To do so, I collect data on Italian emigrants by municipality from the Ellis Island archives in the period 1892-1924. I estimate, then, the causal effect of emigration on a series of outcomes used to measure attitudes towards immigrants through an IV strategy, by exploiting exogenous variation in proximity to train stations active during years 1892-1924 and in the timing of construction of stations to historical emigration. I find that emigration has a negative and significant long-run effect on attitudes towards immigration. In particular, a one-standard deviation increase in the share of past emigrants reduces the propensity to have a SPRAR in municipalities by roughly 9%. A higher historical emigration also reduces social expenditures, share of votes for center-left parties and non-profit organizations, while increasing the share of votes for center-right parties.

Suggested Citation

  • Erminia Florio, 2019. "The Legacy of Historical Emigration: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," CEIS Research Paper 478, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 16 Dec 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:478
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    Keywords

    Italian Emigration; Attitudes towards Immigration; Age of Mass Migration.;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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