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Are We in The Same Boat? The Legacy of Historical Emigration on Attitudes towards Immigrants

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Abstract

I analyze the effect of historical emigration on current attitudes towards immigration in central and southern Italy. To do so, I collect data on Italian emigrants by municipality of last residence 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 departure port to the U.S. during years 1892-1924. I find that emigration has a negative and significant long-run effect on attitudes towards immigration. In particular, higher historical emigration reduces the propensity to open refugees reception centers, social expenditure, volunteers in the non-profit organizations and significantly decreases political support for more inclusive parties. These results are consistent with an increase in conservatism and an inter-generational transmission of social norms from migrants to their heirs.

Suggested Citation

  • Erminia Florio, 2019. "Are We in The Same Boat? The Legacy of Historical Emigration on Attitudes towards Immigrants," CEIS Research Paper 478, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 12 Nov 2021.
  • Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:478
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    Cited by:

    1. Florio, Erminia & Manfredonia, Stefano, 2021. "Ancestors, inter-generational transmission of attitudes, and corporate performance: Evidence from the Italian Mass Migration," GLO Discussion Paper Series 830, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Italian Emigration; Attitudes towards Immigration; Age of Mass Migration.;
    All these keywords.

    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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