The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact

The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact

The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact

The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact

Synopsis

About 55 million Europeans migrated to the New World between 1850 and 1914, landing in North and South America and in Australia. This mass migration marked a profound shift in the distribution of global population and economic activity. In this book, Timothy J. Hatton and Jeffrey G. Williamson describe the migration and analyze its causes and effects. Their study offers a comprehensive treatment of a vital period in the modern economic development of the Western world. Moreover, it explores questions that we still debate today: Why does a nation's emigration rate typically rise with early industrialization? How do immigrants choose their destinations? Are international labor markets segmented? Do immigrants "rob" jobs from locals? What impact do migrants have on living standards in the host and sending countries? Did mass migration make an important contribution to the catching-up of poor countries on rich? Did it create a globalization backlash? This work takes a new view of mass migration. Although often bold and controversial in method, it is the first to assign an explicitly economic interpretation to this important social phenomenon. The Age of Mass Migration will be useful to all students of migration, and to anyone interested in economic growth and globalization.

Excerpt

This book is about the mass migrations that took place between Europe and the New World -- North and South America and Australasia -- between 1850 and 1914. About 55 million Europeans sought new lives in far-away places during this period of largely unfettered migration. the movement marked a profound shift in global population and economic activity. This book tries to do more than simply describe this mass movement: it explores cause and effect. As social scientists, we search for systematic fundamentals rather than idiosyncratic details.

Interest in these past migrations has been rekindled by contemporary policy debate. the age of free mass migration ended shortly after World War I, so one could hardly expect late-twentieth-century international migrations to reach the spectacular rates recorded in the late nineteenth century. Indeed, the foreign-born share in the United States population today is only half what it was a century ago. But United States immigration has been on the rise since World War II and it now accounts for a third of population growth. Surging immigration from Mexico, Latin America, and Asia has stimulated a vast literature and intense public debate. the scholarly journals and the press in Europe are full of commentary on German migrations from east to west in the wake of the collapse of the Iron Curtain, on the African migrants flooding into southern Europe, and on the prospects for increased migration within the European Community.

In one sense the contemporary numbers are relatively small compared with the mass migrations of a century ago: after all, emigration rates of 50 per thousand per decade and immigration rates of 100 per thousand per decade are now rare, whereas they were common just prior to World War I. Furthermore, mass migrations in the 40 years prior to World War I raised the New World labor force by a third and lowered the Old World labor force by an eighth -- figures that have not been exceeded even for California and Mexico over the last 40 years. in another . . .

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