This CAREER project uses the latest economic research methods to explore how individuals and nations adapt to the challenges of diversity. The research brings together migration and its social consequences with a focus on three interconnected themes: (i) understanding migration choices of low-income workers, (ii) identifying the origins and consequences of cultural divisions, and (iii) examining policies that can help diverse groups coexist and thrive. The findings will directly inform several important policy debates: the wellbeing of vulnerable migrants, the rise of religious politics, the cultural origins of gender inequality, and political representation in new communities. By focusing on one of the largest and most diverse countries in the world---the United States---this research will offer insights into the difficulties of building unity amidst diversity and also identify the scope for policy to influence this process. This work will provide new opportunities for building bridges between citizens of the U.S. and other parts of the world. The projects will additionally develop new data and methods that can be used to explore related issues in other contexts. The results of this research project will lead to policies that strengthen and stabilize social institutions, hence increase economic growth. The results will also enhance America's global leadership in democratic pluralism.
This CAREER research agenda is based on five projects that will shed new light on migration and national development in diverse societies. Project 1 studies the first application of consumer quality ratings to address information asymmetries in global labor markets. Project 2 concerns the historical origins of conservative gender norms in the U.S. and explores how frontier settlement contributed to a persistent legacy of gender inequality in politics and the labor market. Project 3 investigates religious divisions and provides a novel explanation for the rise of some religious beliefs. Project 4 examines how competition between religious and public schools affects human capital formation and the ideological foundations of the state. Project 5 develops a new framework for studying how local political boundaries shape inequality in access to public goods. These projects rely on a broad toolkit including a randomized experiment (Project 1), novel historical data collection (Projects 2, 3, and 4), and natural policy experiments (Projects 3, 4, and 5). The findings from this research will advance social science knowledge about migration and the political and economic consequences of diversity. The results of this research project could help develop policies that help integration, strengthen and stabilize social institutions, hence increase economic growth. The results will also enhance America's global leadership in democratic pluralism.