Forced Migration and Human Capital: Evidence from Post-Wwii Population Transfers

47 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2018 Last revised: 24 Jun 2018

See all articles by Sascha O. Becker

Sascha O. Becker

Monash University - Department of Economics; University of Warwick

Irena Grosfeld

Paris School of Economics

Pauline A. Grosjean

UNSW Business School, School of Economics

Nico Voigtländer

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

We exploit a unique historical setting to study the long-run effects of forced migration on investment in education. After World War II, the Polish borders were redrawn, resulting in large-scale migration. Poles were forced to move from the Kresy territories in the East (taken over by the USSR) and were resettled mostly to the newly acquired Western Territories, from which Germans were expelled. We combine historical censuses with newly collected survey data to show that, while there were no pre-WWII differences in education, Poles with a family history of forced migration are significantly more educated today. Descendants of forced migrants have on average one extra year of schooling, driven by a higher propensity to finish secondary or higher education. This result holds when we restrict ancestral locations to a subsample around the Kresy border and include fixed effects for the destination of migrants. Since Kresy migrants were of the same ethnicity and religion as other Poles, we bypass confounding factors of other cases of forced migration. We show that labor market competition with natives and selection of migrants are also unlikely to drive our results. Survey evidence suggests that forced migration led to a shift in preferences, away from material possessions and towards investment in a mobile asset – human capital. The effects persist over three generations.

Suggested Citation

Becker, Sascha O. and Grosfeld, Irena and Grosjean, Pauline A. and Voigtländer, Nico and Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, Forced Migration and Human Capital: Evidence from Post-Wwii Population Transfers (June 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24704, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3198006

Sascha O. Becker (Contact Author)

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Australia

University of Warwick ( email )

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Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Irena Grosfeld

Paris School of Economics ( email )

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France

Pauline A. Grosjean

UNSW Business School, School of Economics ( email )

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Australia

Nico Voigtländer

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty/nico.v/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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