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The Cream of the Crop? Geography, Networks, and Irish Migrant Selection in the Age of Mass Migration

  • Dylan Shane Connor (a1)

With more than 30 million people moving to North America during the Age of Mass Migration (1850–1913), governments feared that Europe was losing its most talented workers. Using new data from Ireland in the early twentieth century, I provide evidence to the contrary, showing that the sons of farmers and illiterate men were more likely to emigrate than their literate and skilled counterparts. Emigration rates were highest in poorer farming communities with stronger migrant networks. I constructed these data using new name-based techniques to follow people over time and to measure chain migration from origin communities to the United States.

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For their guidance and assistance with this work, I want to express my most sincere thanks to Ann Carlos and Bill Collins (editors), two anonymous reviewers, Leah Boustan, Cormac Ó Gráda, Dora Costa, Jamie Goodwin-White, David Rigby, Michael Storper, Alan Fernihough, Roger Waldinger, Peter Catron, Joe Ferrie, Francisco Haimovich, Katherine Eriksson, Gerald Mills, Niamh Moore, Eoin McLoughlin, Enda Delaney, and participants at the 2015 annual meetings of the Population Association of America, the Social Science History Association and the Economic History Association, the All-UC Graduate Student Workshop in Economic History, the UCLA Proseminar in Economic History, and the UCLA Center for the Study of International Migration. This research was supported by a Travelling Studentship from the National University of Ireland.

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