The American Frontier: Technology versus Immigration

31 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2007 Last revised: 7 Oct 2008

See all articles by Guillaume Vandenbroucke

Guillaume Vandenbroucke

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Date Written: April 2008

Abstract

How important was international immigration for the U.S. and its demography during the nineteenth century? This paper investigates, quantitatively, its effect on the westward movement of population and the regional and secular changes in fertility. Beside immigration, two alternative forces are considered: technological progress and the land policy (the Homestead Act). An optimal growth model with endogenous fertility and migration is calibrated, and counterfactual experiments reveal that the main driving forces were productivity growth and the declining cost of transportation. International immigration played a lesser role.

Keywords: Population growth, Migration, Fertility, Westward Expansion

JEL Classification: E1, J1, O1

Suggested Citation

Vandenbroucke, Guillaume, The American Frontier: Technology versus Immigration (April 2008). Review of Economic Dynamics, Vol. 11, No.2, pp. 283-301, April 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=998030

Guillaume Vandenbroucke (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis ( email )

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Saint Louis, MO 63011
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