Have the Poor Always Been Less Likely to Migrate? Evidence from Inheritance Practices During the Age of Mass Migration

46 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2012

See all articles by Ran Abramitzky

Ran Abramitzky

Stanford University - Department of Economics

Leah Platt Boustan

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics

Katherine Eriksson

University of California, Davis

Date Written: August 2012

Abstract

Using novel data on 50,000 Norwegian men, we study the effect of wealth on the probability of internal or international migration during the Age of Mass Migration (1850-1913), a time when the US maintained an open border to European immigrants. We do so by exploiting variation in parental wealth and in expected inheritance by birth order, gender composition of siblings, and region. We find that wealth discouraged migration in this era, suggesting that the poor could be more likely to move if migration restrictions were lifted today. We discuss the implications of these historical findings to developing countries.

Suggested Citation

Abramitzky, Ran and Boustan, Leah Platt and Eriksson, Katherine, Have the Poor Always Been Less Likely to Migrate? Evidence from Inheritance Practices During the Age of Mass Migration (August 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18298, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2131610

Ran Abramitzky (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Leah Platt Boustan

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

Katherine Eriksson

University of California, Davis ( email )

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