Department of Economics
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37235
NBER Program Affiliations:
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Vanderbilt University
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|November 2018||The Economic Assimilation of Irish Famine Migrants to the United States|
with William J. Collins: w25287
The repeated failure of Ireland's potato crop in the late 1840s led to a major famine and a surge in migration to the US. We build a dataset of Irish immigrants and their sons by linking males from 1850 to 1880 US census records. For comparison, we also link German and British immigrants, their sons, and males from US native-headed households. We document a decline in the observable human capital of famine-era Irish migrants compared to pre-famine Irish migrants and to other groups in the 1850 census, as well as worse labor market outcomes. The disparity in labor market outcomes persists into the next generation when immigrants’ and natives’ sons are compared in 1880. Nonetheless, we find strong evidence of intergenerational convergence in that famine-era Irish sons experienced a much...
|August 2018||Transportation and Health in a Developing Country: The United States, 1820–1847|
I study the impact of transportation on health in the rural US, 1820–1847. Measuring health by average stature and using within-county panel analysis and a straight-line instrument, I find that greater transportation linkage, as measured by market access, in a cohort's county-year of birth had an adverse impact on its health. A one-standard deviation increase in market access reduced average stature by 0.10 to 0.29 inches. These results explain 26 to 65 percent of the decline in average stature in the study period. I find evidence that transportation affected health by increasing population density, leading to a worse epidemiological environment.
|July 2018||Sample-Selection Bias and Height Trends in the Nineteenth-Century United States|
After adjusting for sample-selection bias, I find a net decline in average stature of 0.64 inches in the birth cohorts of 1832--1860 in the US. This result supports the veracity of the Antebellum Puzzle—a deterioration of health during early modern economic growth in the US. However, this adjustment alters the trend in average stature, validating concerns over bias in the historical heights literature. The adjustment is based on census-linked military height data and uses a two-step semi-parametric sample-selection model to adjust for selection on observables and unobservables.
Published: Ariell Zimran, 2019. "Sample-Selection Bias and Height Trends in the Nineteenth-Century United States," The Journal of Economic History, vol 79(01), pages 99-138.