Migrants and the Making of America: The Short- and Long-Run Effects of Immigration during the Age of Mass Migration
We study the effects of European immigration to the United States during the Age of Mass Migration (1850-1920) on economic prosperity today. We exploit variation in the extent of immigration across counties arising from the interaction of fluctuations in aggregate immigrant flows and the gradual expansion of the railway network across the United States. We find that locations with more historical immigration today have higher incomes, less poverty, less unemployment, higher rates of urbanization, and greater educational attainment. The long-run effects appear to arise from the persistence of sizeable short-run benefits, including greater industrialization, increased agricultural productivity, and more innovation.
We thank Mohammad Ahmad, Paulo Costa, Ariel Gomez, Daniel Lowery, Daria Kutzenova, Eva Ng, Matthew Summers, Guo Xu, and Adam Xu for excellent research assistance. We are grateful for comments received from Ran Abramitzky, Philipp Ager, Leah Boustan, Melissa Dell, Dave Donaldson, Claudia Goldin, Casper Worm Hansen, Jeff Frieden, Larry Katz, Petra Moser, Gerard Padro-i-Miquel and Gavin Wright, as well as audiences at numerous seminars and conferences. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
- U.S. counties that received larger numbers of immigrants between 1860 and 1920 had higher average incomes and lower unemployment and...
Sandra Sequeira & Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2017. "Migrants and the Making of America: The Shortand Long-Run Effects of Immigration During the Age of Mass Migration," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 15(3), pages 30-34, October. citation courtesy of