Spatial Perspectives on Economic Opportunity
Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
- Chair: Elisabeth Perlman, U.S. Bureau of the Census
The Economic Assimilation of Irish Famine Migrants to the United States
AbstractThe repeated failure of Ireland's potato crop in the late 1840s led to a major famine and a surge in migration to the US. We build a dataset of Irish immigrants and their sons by linking males from 1850 to 1880 US census records. For comparison, we also link German and British immigrants, their sons, and males from US native-headed households. We document a decline in the observable human capital of famine-era Irish migrants compared to pre-famine Irish migrants and to other groups in the 1850 census, as well as worse labor market outcomes. The disparity in labor market outcomes persists into the next generation when immigrants’ and natives’ sons are compared in 1880. Nonetheless, we find strong evidence of intergenerational convergence in that famine-era Irish sons experienced a much smaller gap in occupational status than their fathers. The disparities are even smaller when the Irish children are compared to those from observationally similar native white households. A descriptive analysis of mobility for the famine-era Irish sons indicates that more Catholic surnames and birth in Ireland were associated with less upward mobility. Our results contribute to literatures on immigrant assimilation, refugee migration, and the Age of Mass Migration.
Rule of Law in Labor Relations, 1898-1940
The Long Run Development Impacts of a Guest Worker Program: Evidence from the Bracero Program
AbstractThe Bracero Program was a historical guest worker program between Mexico and the United States that saw the temporary migration of nearly five million agricultural workers to the United States. Guest worker programs benefit the host country with relatively cheaper labor, and the sending communities with influxes of cash earned abroad. The Bracero Program provides an opportunity to understand the long term development impact of such a policy. I compare the adult outcomes of those children who were treated with exposure to the program (father migrating to the United States as a bracero) to those children who were not exposed. I propose two methods to isolate plausibly exogenous variation and estimate this effect. One is a family fixed effects model that compares siblings, and the other is a difference-in-differences model that exploits a natural experiment in the institutional history of the program. Positive effects in the long run provide further evidence of guest worker programs as good development policy.
- N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy