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International Migration in the Long-Run: Positive Selection, Negative Selection and Policy

37 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2004  

Timothy J. Hatton

University of Essex - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jeffrey G. Williamson

Harvard University - Department of Economics, Laird Bell Professor of Economics, Emeritus; Honorary Fellow, University of Wisconsin - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: September 2004

Abstract

Most labor scarce overseas countries moved decisively to restrict their immigration during the first third of the 20th century. This autarchic retreat from unrestricted and even publicly-subsidized immigration in the first global century before World War I to the quotas and bans introduced afterwards was the result of a combination of factors: public hostility towards new immigrants of lower quality, public assessment of the impact of those immigrants on a deteriorating labor market, political participation of those impacted, and, as a triggering mechanism, the sudden shocks to the labor market delivered by the 1890s depression, the Great War, postwar adjustment and the great depression. The paper documents the secular drift from very positive to much more negative immigrant selection which took place in the first global century after 1820 and in the second global century after 1950, and seeks explanations for it. It then explores the political economy of immigrant restriction in the past and seeks historical lessons for the present.

JEL Classification: F22, J1, O1

Suggested Citation

Hatton, Timothy J. and Williamson, Jeffrey G., International Migration in the Long-Run: Positive Selection, Negative Selection and Policy (September 2004). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1304; Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 2038. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=558269

Timothy J. Hatton

University of Essex - Department of Economics ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Germany

Jeffrey G. Williamson (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics, Laird Bell Professor of Economics, Emeritus ( email )

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United States
617-495-2438 (Phone)
617-496-7352 (Fax)

Honorary Fellow, University of Wisconsin - Department of Economics

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United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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