NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Late-Comers to Mass Emigration: The Latin Experience

Timothy J. Hatton, Jeffrey G. Williamson

NBER Historical Working Paper No. 47
Issued in June 1993
NBER Program(s):   DAE

The Latin countries -- Italy, Portugal and Spain -- were industrial late-comers and only experienced mass emigration late in the 19th century. When they did join the European mass migration, they did so in great numbers. The fact that they joined the mass migrations late, that they were poor by West European standards, and that so many went to Latin America, has generated a number of debates on both sides of the Atlantic. This paper uses a late 19th century panel data set (including purchasing-power-parity adjusted real wages) for twelve European countries to find that Latin emigration behavior was no different than that of northwestern Europe: for example, Latin emigrant labor supplies were not relatively elastic, contrary to the hypothesis made famous by Sir Arthur Lewis. What made Latin experience different was the underlying economic and demographic fundamentals driving the experience.

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Published: T. Hatton and J. Williamson, (eds.), Migration and the International Labor Markets 1850-1939, (Routledge 1994).

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