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Title: A study of the economics of international migration, 1820-1914
Author: Rostowski, Roman
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1943
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The statistical and historical inquiry into the migratory movements of Europeans during the period 1820-1914 revealed the following facts:- 1. Migration moved in those times in a v/ave-like manner. A thorough investigation of the relations between business cycles and migration by Dr. Jerome rendered superfluous a further inquiry into these relations 2. It was found after the trade cycles have been ironed out that the migratory movement exhibited longer waves of approximately 19 or 20 years' duration. 3. These longer cycles in migration were found to be substantially similar for most component parts of the stream of immigration to a single country, but varied between countries of immigration. This state of affairs suggested that it was again - as in the trade cycle - the conditions in the countries of immigration which prevailed in the determination of the shape of the curves of migration in time. 4. This conclusion was reinforced by the fact that cycles similar to those found for immigration were discovered for other series representative of the growth of a country: series for capital import, for the rate of increase in the ratio of capital to labour and for railway construction. It is, therefore, suggested that the longer cycles in migration were representative of a cyclical growth of new countries. 5. The causes of the cyclical character of the growth of new countries could not be established, but it was suggested that the expansion of world economy caused an accelerated transfer of capital and labour to new territories, a transfer which proceeded more quickly than was justified by the existing conditions of'the supply of natural resources and of the demand for the products. This necessitated a slowing down of the transfer in subsequent years, thus generating a decline in the rate of growth of the new country in general, and in immigration in particular. 6. It was found that the longer waves in the migration to new agricultural countries took place during the phases of decline in the long cycles in production and trade, while the longer waves in the migration to new industrial countries took place during the upward phases of the long cycles, which was a natural effect of the different tendencies in the expansion of the world economy during the two phases of the long cycles. This contention is fortified by the evidence of the short duration and small intensity of those cycles in the immigration to new agricultural countries which took place during the period of advance in the long cycles in production and trade; these cycles were shorter and of smaller intensity than both the waves in the migration to new agricultural countries during the phases of decline in the long cycles and the waves in the migration to new industrial countries during the phases of advance in the long cycles. 7. A particularly strong intensity of migration was found in those cycles which followed immediately the phases of decline in the long cycles in production. This happened probably under the influence of over-crowded labour markets in the agricultural countries of the Old World after a long period of depression. The growth of the relative importance of agriculture among the occupations of immigrants to the United States at those periods confirms this hypothesis. 8. The flow of workers to agricultural centres during the decline in the long cycles and to industrial centres during the advance in the long cycles in production, indicates that in the first case it was mainly the natural resources of the new countries raid in the second case the quickly growing capital equipment which drew people from Europe to the new continents. The fact that the migration to new agricultural territories took place during periods of falling prices of agricultural products and deteriorating terms of that trade for these products indicates/the taking of new lands under cultivation was a substitution for the old factors of factors which promised to be more remunerative. An inquiry into the quicker rate of growth, of fixed capital in U.S. industry than in the industry of Western European Countries ( a compounded yearly average rate of increase of 6 per cent, as compared with 3 per cent, for Western Europe), does not belong to a study of the economics of migration. It may, however, be suggested that the cheapness and abundance of raw materials 'in that country combined with a large internal market was the cause of a rapid growth of secondary industry in the United States. The greater demand for industrial products in America than in Europe was, at least partly, due to the higher productivity of primary industries in that country than in the countries of the old continent. 9. An investigation of the supply curves of migratory labour revealed at least for those countries and periods for which such inquiries were possible, that these curves were positively inclined. The elasticity of supply of these curves varied between about plus 1 and plus 5. The elasticity of supply of migratory labour was smaller when migration was directed to an agricultural country than when it was directed to centres of a rapidly expanding industry. 10. The investigation of the influence of migration on the supply curves of labour in the countries of immigration was found to be a very difficult task in view of the inadequacy of existing statistics. So far, however, as these statistics allowed any far-reaching influences, it was found that the influence of migration on the supply curves of labour was much smaller than it is sometimes supposed. In particular, no ground was found for the contention that migration was acting as an agent for the intemationalisation of Malthusian conditions. 11. It was found impracticable to measure with the aid of existing formulae for production, whether migration contributed to a narrowing or to a widening of the gap between actual and optimum population.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available