The Entry Into the U.S. Labor Market of Antebellum European Immigrants, 1840-60
NBER Historical Working Paper No. 88
This study examines the occupational mobility of antebellum immigrants as they entered the U.S. White collar, skilled, and semi-skilled immigrants left unskilled jobs more rapidly after arrival than farmers and unskilled workers. British and German immigrants fared better than the Irish; literate immigrants in rapidly growing counties and places with many immigrants fared best. These findings have implications for (1) the accuracy of estimates of immigrant occupational mobility; (2) the size of the human capital transfer resulting from antebellum immigration; and (3) the causes of the difficulty experienced by some immigrant groups in transferring their skills to the U.S.
Published: Ferrie, Joseph P. "The Entry Into The U.S. Labor Market Of Antebellum European Immigrants, 1840-1860," Explorations in Economic History, 1997, v34(3,Jul), 295-330.