DP12878 A woman's touch? Female migration and economic development in the United States

Author(s): Neil Lee, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Viola von Berlepsch
Publication Date: April 2018
Keyword(s): Counties, Development, Economic Growth, Gender, migration, US
JEL(s): F22, J16, J61, O15, R23
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12878

Does the economic effect of immigrant women differ from that of immigrants in general? This paper examines if gender has influenced the short- and long-term economic impact of mass migration to the US, using Census microdata from 1880 and 1910. By means of ordinary least squares and instrumental variable estimations, the analysis shows that a greater concentration of immigrant women is significantly associated with lower levels of economic development in US counties. However, immigrant women also shaped economic development positively, albeit indirectly, via their children. Communities with more children born to foreign mothers and that successfully managed to integrate female immigrants experienced greater economic growth than those dominated by children of foreign-born fathers or American-born parents.