The Legacy of Historical Emigration: Evidence from Italian Municipalities
49 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2019
Date Written: December 5, 2019
I analyze the effect of historical emigration on today's attitudes towards immigration in Italy. To do so, I collect data on Italian emigrants by municipality from the Ellis Island archives in the period 1892-1924. I estimate, then, the causal effect of emigration on a series of outcomes used to measure attitudes towards immigrants through an IV strategy, by exploiting exogenous variation in proximity to train stations active during years 1892-1924 and in the timing of construction of stations to historical emigration. I find that emigration has a negative and signicant long-run effect on attitudes towards immigration. In particular, a one-standard deviation increase in the share of past emigrants reduces the propensity to have a SPRAR in municipalities by roughly 9%. A higher historical emigration also reduces social expenditures, share of votes for center-left parties and non-prot organizations, while increasing the share of votes for center-right parties.
Keywords: Italian Emigration; Attitudes towards Immigration; Age of Mass Migration
JEL Classification: J15; N32; N34; Z1
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