NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

International Migration and World Development: A Historical Perspective

Timothy J. Hatton, Jeffrey G. Williamson

NBER Historical Working Paper No. 41
Issued in September 1992
NBER Program(s):   DAE

The 1920s marked the end of a century of mass migration from Europe to the New World. This paper examines analytically this pre-quota experience. The discussion is divided into two parts. The first deals with the character and dimensions of overseas emigration from Europe chiefly from the mid 19th century to World War I. The second discussions the effects of these migrations on both sending and receiving countries. The traditional literature has far more to say about the first than the second. Here we deal with the evolution of global labor markets, first as they were directly influenced by the migrations, and second as they interacted with the evolution of world commodity and capital markets. The paper argues that the impressive economic convergence which took place between 1870 and World War I can be largely explained by these forces of economic integration, rather than by technological convergence or differential human capital growth.

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Published: "International Migration: 1850-1939: An Economic Survey," Migration and the International Labor Market 1850-1939, T. Hatton and J. Williamson, eds.(London: Routledge, 1994): 3-32.

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