American Education in the Age of Mass Migrations 1870-1930

47 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2009

See all articles by Fabrice Murtin

Fabrice Murtin

Stanford University; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Martina Viarengo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Women and Public Policy Program

Abstract

This paper derives original series of average years of schooling in the United States 1870-1930, which take into account the impact of mass migrations on the US educational level. We reconstruct the foreign-born US population by age and by country of origin, while combining data on the flow of migrants by country and the age pyramids of migrants by country. Then we use original data on educational attainment in the nineteenth century presented in Morrisson and Murtin (2008) in order to estimate the educational level of US immigrants by age and by country. As a result, our series are consistent with the first national estimates of average schooling in 1940. We show that mass migrations have had a significant but modest impact on the US average educational attainment. However, the educational gap between US natives and immigrants was large and increased with the second immigration wave, a phenomenon that most likely fostered the implementation of restrictive immigration rules in the 1920s.

Keywords: economic history, migrations, education, economic development research

JEL Classification: I2, J24, N70, O1

Suggested Citation

Murtin, Fabrice and Viarengo, Martina, American Education in the Age of Mass Migrations 1870-1930. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3964. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1336061

Fabrice Murtin (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Martina Viarengo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Women and Public Policy Program ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-4786 (Phone)

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