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Across the sea to Ireland: Return Atlantic migration before the First World War

Author

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  • Fernihough, Alan
  • Ó Gráda, Cormac

Abstract

Are return migrants 'losers' who fail to adapt to the challenges of the host economy, and thereby exacerbate the brain drain linked to emigration? Or are they 'winners' whose return enhances the human and physical capital of the home country? These questions are the subject of a burgeoning literature. This paper analyze a new database culled from the 1911 Irish population census to address these issues for returnees to Ireland from North America more than a century ago. The evidence suggests that those who returned had the edge over the population as a whole in terms of human capital, if not also over those who remained abroad.

Suggested Citation

  • Fernihough, Alan & Ó Gráda, Cormac, 2019. "Across the sea to Ireland: Return Atlantic migration before the First World War," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2019-08, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:qucehw:201908
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Matteo Gomellini & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2019. "Brain Drain and Brain Gain in Italy and Ireland in the Age of Mass Migration," Working Papers 201907, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    2. Dustmann, Christian, 2003. "Return migration, wage differentials, and the optimal migration duration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 353-369, April.
    3. Bijwaard, Govert E. & Wahba, Jackline, 2014. "Do high-income or low-income immigrants leave faster?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 54-68.
    4. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2019. "To the New World and Back Again: Return Migrants in the Age of Mass Migration," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 72(2), pages 300-322, March.
    5. Bandiera, Oriana & Rasul, Imran & Viarengo, Martina, 2013. "The Making of Modern America: Migratory Flows in the Age of Mass Migration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 23-47.
    6. Alan Barrett & Jean Goggin, 2010. "Returning To The Question Of A Wage Premium For Returning Migrants," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 213(1), pages 43-51, July.
    7. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
    8. Alan Fernihough, 2017. "Human capital and the quantity–quality trade-off during the demographic transition," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 35-65, March.
    9. Biondo, A.E. & Monteleone, S. & Skonieczny, G. & Torrisi, B., 2012. "The propensity to return: Theory and evidence for the Italian brain drain," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 359-362.
    10. Ward, Zachary, 2017. "Birds of passage: Return migration, self-selection and immigration quotas," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 37-52.
    11. Connor, Dylan Shane, 2019. "The Cream of the Crop? Geography, Networks, and Irish Migrant Selection in the Age of Mass Migration," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 139-175, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    migration; brain gain; economic history; Ireland;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N - Economic History
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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