NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Hui Ren Tan

National University of Singapore

E-Mail: huiren@nus.edu.sg
Institutional Affiliation: National University of Singapore

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2020How the Other Half Died: Immigration and Mortality in US Cities
with Philipp Ager, James J. Feigenbaum, Casper Worm Hansen: w27480
Fears of immigrants as a threat to public health have a long and sordid history. At the turn of the 20th century, when millions of immigrants crowded into dense American cities, contemporaries blamed the high urban mortality penalty on the newest arrivals. Nativist sentiments eventually led to the implementation of restrictive quota acts in the 1920s, substantially curtailing immigration. We capture the "missing immigrants" induced by the quotas to estimate the effect of immigration on mortality. We find that cities with more missing immigrants experienced sharp declines in deaths from infectious diseases from the mid-1920s until the late 1930s. The blame for these negative mortality effects lies not with the immigrants, but on the living conditions they endured. We show that mortality dec...
October 2019The Return to Education in the Mid-20th Century: Evidence from Twins
with James J. Feigenbaum: w26407
What was the return to education in the United States at mid-century? In 1940, the correlation between years of schooling and earnings was relatively low, less than it had been in 1915 or than it would be in later decades. In this paper, we estimate the causal return to schooling in 1940, constructing a large linked sample of twin brothers to account for differences in unobserved ability and family background. Though imperfect, the twins identification strategy allows us to compare the return to education to recent studies implemented similarly. We find that the return to education was relatively low in 1940, with each additional year of schooling increasing labor earnings by approximately 4%. Returns to education were evident both within and across occupations and were higher for sons bor...
 
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