The Refugee’s Dilemma - Evidence from Jewish Outmigration in Nazi Germany

Johannes Buggle (U of Lausanne)
Thierry Mayer (Sciences Po)
Seyhun Sakalli (U of Lausanne)
Mathias Thoenig (U of Lausanne)

Abstract : In this paper we estimate the push and pull factors involved in the outmigration of Jews facing persecution in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1942. We build a structural model of migration under uncertainty on the life threat and then we perform counterfactual policy experiments in order to quantify how migration restrictions in destination countries affected the fate of Jews. Our analysis particularly highlights the role of social learning and information spillovers by assessing how migration outflows within social networks provided a signal of the severity of the threat to the peers. The empirical investigation makes use of a unique dataset that records the migration history of almost the entire universe of Jews living in Germany over the period.

Mass Migration, Cheap Labor, and Innovation

Mounir Karadja (Uppsala University)
Erik Prawitz (Research Institute for Industrial Economics (IFN))

Abstract : This paper studies the effect of emigration on technological advances in sending locations after one of the largest migration events in human history, the mass migration from Europe to the United States in the 19th century. To establish causality, we adopt an instrumental variable strategy that combines local growing-season frost shocks with proximity to an emigration port. Using novel data on technological patents, we find that emigration led to an increase in innovative activity in sending municipalities. Additionally, we find that emigration led to higher unskilled wages in agriculture, an increased adoption of labor-saving technology and a shift towards the nascent industrial sector.

Emigration and Trust

Dragos Radu (King’s College London)
Eka Skoglund (IOS Regensburg)

Abstract : Do large emigration flows have a detrimental effect on generalized trust “back home”? What are the main social mechanisms through which emigration impacts upon the level of trust among those who remain in sending areas? We address these questions using both aggregate level data and individual level data collected in an original survey on social exclusion in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Our panel models imply a negative relationship between emigration and trust which we confirm using large survey data. While most of our analysis is descriptive in nature the cross-country heterogenity of our sample helps to uncover possible transmission mechanisms from migration to trust. Our results imply that above a certain threshold, massive emigration flows are likely to contribute to social trap settings which particularly affect transition countries and hinder members of their their societies to cooperate to achieve joint benefits.

International Migration and Cultural Convergence

Hillel Rapoport (Paris School of Economics)
Sulin Sardoschau (DeZIM Institute)
Arthur Silve (Laval University)

Abstract : Does international migration contribute to cultural convergence or divergence between sending and receiving countries? We investigate this question both theoretically and empirically. We first develop a compositional model of international migration and cultural change, where divergence arises from self-selection on cultural traits and convergence arises from social mixing. The model is then adapted to allow for horizontal and vertical cultural transmission following Bisin & Verdier (2000). The model yields a rich set of predictions, which we test empirically using panel data from the World Value Survey and bilateral migration data for the period 1981-2014. We exploit within country-pair variation in cultural proximity over time and find support for the cultural transmission hypothesis. As the model with cultural transmission predicts, migration generates bilateral cultural convergence even if we exclude migrants from the pool of respondents in both countries (hence eliminating social mixing). It is also more likely in the long-run, especially after controlling for economic incentives to migrate and for initial cultural distance, which is consistent with the cultural transmission hypothesis (but not with compositional changes). Interestingly, international migration appears as a stronger and more robust driver of cultural convergence than trade. The results hold for a large set of time-varying cultural distance measures along different statistical and topical dimensions.