NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

"Convergence in the Age of Mass Migration"

Alan M. Taylor, Jeffrey G. Williamson

NBER Working Paper No. 4711
Issued in April 1994
NBER Program(s):   DAE

Between 1870 and 1913, economic convergence among present OECD members (or even a wider sample of countries) was dramatic, about as dramatic as it has been over the past century and a half. The convergence can be documented in GDP per worker-hour, GDP per capita and in real wages. What were the sources of the convergence? One prime candidate is mass migration. In the absence of quotas, this was a period of open international migration, and the numbers who elected to move were enormous. If international migration is ever to play a role in contributing to convergence, the pre-quota period surely should be it. This paper offers some estimates which suggest that migration could account for very large shares of the convergence in GDP per worker and real wages, though a much smaller share in GDP per capita. One might conclude, therefore, that the interwar cessation of convergence could be partially explained by the imposition of quotas and other barriers to migration. The paper concludes with caution as it enumerates the possible offsets to the mass migration impact which our partial equilibrium analysis ignores, and with the plea that convergence models pay more attention to open-economy forces.

download in pdf format
   (739 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (739 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w4711

Published: European review of economic history, vol. 1, no.1 (April 1997): 27-63. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Hatton and Williamson h0043 What Drove the Mass Migrations from Europe in the Late Nineteenth Century?
, Taylor, and Williamson h0046 Land, Labor and the Wage-Rental Ratio: Factor Price Convergence in the Late Nineteenth Century
Goldin The Political Economy of Immigration Restriction in the United States, 1890 to 1921
Williamson, , and Hatton h0048 Mass Migration, Commodity Market Integration and Real Wage Convergence: The Late Nineteenth Century Atlantic Economy
Obstfeld, Shambaugh, and Taylor w10396 The Trilemma in History: Tradeoffs among Exchange Rates, Monetary Policies, and Capital Mobility
 
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