EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

The economic assimilation of Irish Famine migrants to the United States

William J. Collins and Ariell Zimran

Explorations in Economic History, 2019, vol. 74, issue C

Abstract: The repeated failure of Ireland's potato crop in the late 1840s led to a major famine and sparked a surge in migration to the US. We build a new dataset of Irish immigrants and their sons by linking males from 1850 to 1880 US census records. For comparison, we also link German and British immigrants, their sons, and males from US native-headed households. We document a decline in the observable human capital of famine-era Irish migrants compared to pre-famine Irish migrants and to other groups in the 1850 census, as well as worse labor market outcomes. The disparity in labor market outcomes persists into the next generation when immigrants’ and natives’ sons are compared in 1880. Nonetheless, we find strong evidence of intergenerational convergence in that famine-era Irish sons experienced a much smaller gap in occupational status in 1880 than their fathers did in 1850. The disparities are even smaller when the Irish children are compared to those from observationally similar native white households. A descriptive analysis of mobility for the children of the famine Irish indicates that having a more Catholic surname and being born in Ireland were associated with less upward mobility. Our results contribute to literatures on immigrant assimilation, refugee migration, and the Age of Mass Migration.

Keywords: Migration; Refugees; Assimilation; Intergenerational mobility; Irish Famine (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 J61 J62 N31 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014498319300403
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:exehis:v:74:y:2019:i:c:s0014498319300403

DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2019.101302

Access Statistics for this article

Explorations in Economic History is currently edited by R.H. Steckel

More articles in Explorations in Economic History from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().

 
Page updated 2020-03-24
Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:74:y:2019:i:c:s0014498319300403