NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

What Drove the Mass Migrations from Europe in the Late Nineteenth Century?

Timothy J. Hatton, Jeffrey G. Williamson

NBER Historical Working Paper No. 43
Issued in November 1992
NBER Program(s):   DAE

This paper examines the determinants of overseas mass migration from eleven European countries in the late 19th century. They typically passed through something like a half-century life-cycle: a steep rise in emigration rates from low levels in preindustrial decades, followed by a plateau of very high emigration, and then a subsequent fall during more mature stages of industrialization. Using a new real wage data base, we are able to isolate the impact of economic and demographic forces (associated with the industrial revolution) on this emigration experience. The steep rise in emigration rates was driven mainly by fertility boom and infant mortality decline, events early in the demographic transition which, with a two decade lag, tended to glut the age cohort most responsive to wage gaps between the labor-abundant Old World and the labor-scarce New World. The steep fall in emigration rates was driven mainly by the forces of convergence and catching up -- more rapid real wage growth at home encouraged an increasingly large share to stay at home. Since we show elsewhere that these mass migrations contributed significantly to an impressive late 19th century economic convergence, they can be viewed as an important part of a long run equilibrium adjustment manifested by an evolving global labor market.

download in pdf format
   (2031 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (2031 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/h0043

Published: Population and Development Review, vol. 20, no. 3 (Sept 1994): 1-27.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Hatton and Williamson w9159 What Fundamentals Drive World Migration?
Hatton and Williamson h0041 International Migration and World Development: A Historical Perspective
Taylor and Williamson w4711 "Convergence in the Age of Mass Migration"
Steckel w0881 The Economic Foundations of East-West Migration During the Nineteenth Century
Bordo, Eichengreen, and Kim w6738 Was There Really an Earlier Period of International Financial Integration Comparable to Today?
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us