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
|October 2019||Immigrants’ Changing Labor Market Assimilation in the United States during the Age of Mass Migration|
with William J. Collins: w26414
Whether immigrants advance in labor markets relative to natives as they gain experience is a fundamental question in the economics of immigration. For the US, it has been difficult to answer this question for the period when the immigration rate was at its historical peak, between the 1840s and 1920s. We develop new datasets of linked census records for foreign- and native-born men in 1850-80 and 1900-30. We find that for the nineteenth century cohort, there is evidence of substantial “catching up” by immigrants in terms of occupational status, but for the twentieth century cohort there is not. These changes do not reflect the shift in source countries from Northern and Western Europe to Southern and Eastern Europe. Instead, we find that natives had advantages in upgrading relative to...
|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...
Published: William J. Collins & Ariell Zimran, 2019. "The Economic Assimilation of Irish Famine Migrants to the United States," Explorations in Economic History, .
|August 2018||Transportation and Health in the Antebellum United States 1820-1847|
I study the impact of transportation on health in the rural US, 1820–1847. Measuring health by average stature, 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 0.14 inches, and rising market access over the study period can explain 37 percent of the contemporaneous decline in average stature, known as the Antebellum Puzzle. 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.