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American Economic Review: Vol. 102 No. 5 (August 2012)

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Europe's Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses: Self-Selection and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration

Article Citation

Abramitzky, Ran, Leah Platt Boustan, and Katherine Eriksson. 2012. "Europe's Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses: Self-Selection and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration." American Economic Review, 102(5): 1832-56.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.5.1832

Abstract

During the age of mass migration (1850-1913), one of the largest migration episodes in history, the United States maintained a nearly open border, allowing the study of migrant decisions unhindered by entry restrictions. We estimate the return to migration while accounting for migrant selection by comparing Norway-to-US migrants with their brothers who stayed in Norway in the late nineteenth century. We also compare fathers of migrants and nonmigrants by wealth and occupation. We find that the return to migration was relatively low (70 percent) and that migrants from urban areas were negatively selected from the sending population. (JEL J11, J61, N31, N33)

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Authors

Abramitzky, Ran (Stanford U)
Boustan, Leah Platt (UCLA)
Eriksson, Katherine (UCLA)

JEL Classifications

J11: Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
J61: Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
N31: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
N33: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Europe: Pre-1913


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