The Long-run Impact of Historical Shocks on the Decision to Migrate: Evidence from the Irish Migration

Gayane Vardanyan, Gaia Narciso, Battista Severgnini

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This study investigates how negative historical shocks can explain migration in the long-run. We construct a unique dataset based on the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census data and a selection of the Ellis Island Administrative Records which allow us to test whether the Great Irish Famine (1845-1850), one of the most lethal starvation in history, has shaped the decision of migrating to the USA in the following 70 years. We control for several set of individual and geographical characteristics and we find that the Irish Famine was an important significant driver of individuals’ migration choices. Instrumental variable analysis based on the exogenous spread of the potato blight provides consistent results.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event15th Annual Migration Meeting - Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201810 Aug 2018
Conference number: 15


Conference15th Annual Migration Meeting
LocationHarvard Kennedy School
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Mass migration
  • Negative shock
  • Long-run impact
  • Great Famine

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