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.