Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1237: Exit, Voice and Political Change: Evidence from Swedish Mass Migration to the United States

Mounir Karadja and Erik Prawitz ()
Additional contact information
Mounir Karadja: Department of Economics, Postal: Uppsala University
Erik Prawitz: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: We study the political effects of mass emigration to the United States in the 19th century using data from Sweden. To instrument for total emigration over several decades, we exploit severe local frost shocks that sparked an initial wave of emigration, interacted with within-country travel costs. Our estimates show that emigration substantially increased the local demand for political change, as measured by labor movement membership, strike participation and voting. Emigration also led to de facto political change, increasing welfare expenditures as well as the likelihood of adopting more inclusive political institutions.

Keywords: Migration; Political change; Labor mobility; Economic history

JEL-codes: D72; J61; P16

127 pages, October 8, 2018

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