The American Frontier: Technology versus Immigration
31 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2007 Last revised: 7 Oct 2008
Date Written: April 2008
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: Suggested Citation