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Europe's Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses: Self-Selection and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration

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Abstract:

During the age of mass migration (1850–1913), one of the largest migration episodes in history, the United States maintained a nearly open border, allowing the study of migrant decisions unhindered by entry restrictions. We estimate the return to migration while accounting for migrant selection by comparing Norway-to-US migrants with their brothers who stayed in Norway in the late nineteenth century. We also compare fathers of migrants and nonmigrants by wealth and occupation. We find that the return to migration was relatively low (70 percent) and that migrants from urban areas were negatively selected from the sending population.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/aer.102.5.1832

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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