NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Europe's tired, poor, huddled masses: Self-selection and economic outcomes in the age of mass migration

Ran Abramitzky, Leah Platt Boustan, Katherine Eriksson

NBER Working Paper No. 15684
Issued in January 2010
NBER Program(s):   DAE   LS

The Age of Mass Migration (1850-1913) was among the largest migration episodes in history. During this period, the United States maintained open borders. Using a novel dataset of Norway-to-US migrants, we estimate the return to migration while accounting for migrant selection across households by comparing migrants with their brothers who stayed in Norway. We also compare the fathers of migrants and non-migrants by wealth and occupation, and examine migrants' assimilation in the US labor market. We find that, unhindered by entry restrictions, migrants were negatively selected from the sending population and their return to migration was relatively low.

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This paper was revised on December 5, 2011

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15684

Published: Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2012. "Europe's Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses: Self-Selection and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1832-56, August. citation courtesy of

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