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Escaping the Holocaust: human and health capital of refugees to the US, 1940-42

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  • Blum, Matthias
  • Rei, Claudia

Abstract

The large-scale persecution of Jews during World War II generated massive refugee movements. Using data from 20,441 predominantly Jewish passengers from 19 countries traveling from Lisbon to New York between 1940 and 1942, we analyze the last wave of refugees escaping the Holocaust and verify the validity of height as a proxy for human and health capital. We further show this episode of European migration displays wellknown features of migrant self-selection: early migrants were taller than late migrants; a large migrant stock reduces migrant selectivity; and economic barriers to migration apply. Our Öndings show that Europe experienced substantial losses in human and health capital while the US beneÖtted from the immigration of European refugees.

Suggested Citation

  • Blum, Matthias & Rei, Claudia, 2016. "Escaping the Holocaust: human and health capital of refugees to the US, 1940-42," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145483, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc16:145483
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stolz, Yvonne & Baten, Joerg, 2012. "Brain drain in the age of mass migration: Does relative inequality explain migrant selectivity?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 205-220.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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