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Smooth(er) Landing? The Dynamic Role of Networks in the Location and Occupational Choice of Immigrants

Jeanne Lafortune and José Tessada

No 14, Working Papers ClioLab from EH Clio Lab. Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Abstract: This paper studies the dynamic effect of networks on location and occupation decisions of immigrants to the United States between 1900 and 1930. We compare the distributions of immigrants both by intended and actual state of residence to counterfactual distributions constructed by allocating the national-level flows according to the distribution of previous immigrants and to measures of demand for occupations at the state level. Our results are consistent with migrants using ethnic networks as a transitory mechanism while they learn about their new labor markets and not with other hypotheses that do not account for the dynamic patterns we document.

Date: 2012
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