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American Economic Review: Vol. 104 No. 1 (January 2014)


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Immigration and the Diffusion of Technology: The Huguenot Diaspora in Prussia

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Hornung, Erik. 2014. "Immigration and the Diffusion of Technology: The Huguenot Diaspora in Prussia." American Economic Review, 104(1): 84-122.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.1.84


This paper analyzes long-term effects of skilled-worker immigration on productivity for the Huguenot migration to Prussia. In 1685, religiously persecuted French Huguenots settled in Brandenburg- Prussia and compensated for population losses due to plagues during the Thirty Years' War. We combine Huguenot immigration lists from 1700 with Prussian firm-level data on the value of inputs and outputs in 1802 in a unique database to analyze the effects of skilled immigration to places with underused economic potential. Exploiting this settlement pattern in an instrumental-variable approach, we find substantial long-term effects of Huguenot settlement on the productivity of textile manufactories.

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Online Appendix (156.78 KB) | Download Data Set (143.00 KB) | Author Disclosure Statement(s) (8.54 KB)


Hornung, Erik (Ifo Institute, Munich and Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance, Munich)

JEL Classifications

J24: Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
J61: Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
L67: Other Consumer Nondurables
N33: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Europe: Pre-1913
N63: Economic History: Manufacturing and Construction: Europe: Pre-1913
O33: Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
O47: Measurement of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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