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Are We in The Same Boat? The Legacy of Historical Emigration on Attitudes towards Immigrants

Erminia Florio

No 478, CEIS Research Paper from Tor Vergata University, CEIS

Abstract: I analyze the effect of historical emigration on current attitudes towards immigration in central and southern Italy. To do so, I collect data on Italian emigrants by municipality of last residence from the Ellis Island archives in the period 1892-1924. I estimate, then, the causal effect of emigration on a series of outcomes used to measure attitudes towards immigrants through an IV strategy, by exploiting exogenous variation in proximity to departure port to the U.S. during years 1892-1924. I find that emigration has a negative and significant long-run effect on attitudes towards immigration. In particular, higher historical emigration reduces the propensity to open refugees reception centers, social expenditure, volunteers in the non-profit organizations and significantly decreases political support for more inclusive parties. These results are consistent with an increase in conservatism and an inter-generational transmission of social norms from migrants to their heirs.

Keywords: Italian Emigration; Attitudes towards Immigration; Age of Mass Migration. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J15 N32 N34 Z1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 51 pages
Date: 2019-12-16, Revised 2021-11-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur, nep-his, nep-mig and nep-soc
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