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The Slaughter of the Bison and Reversal of Fortunes on the Great Plains
In the late 19th century, the North American bison was brought to the brink of extinction in just over a decade. We show that the bison?s slaughter led to a reversal of fortunes for the Native Americans who relied on them. Once the tallest people in the world, the generations of bison-reliant people born after the slaughter were among the shortest. Today, formerly bison-reliant societies have between 20-40% less income per capita than the average Native American nation. We argue that federal Indian policy that limited out-migration from reservations and restricted employment opportunities to ...
The Effect of Immigration on Local Labor Markets: Lessons from the 1920s Border Closure
In the 1920s, the United States substantially reduced immigration by imposing country-specific entry quotas. We compare local labor markets differentially exposed to the quotas due to variation in the national origin mix of their immigrant populations. U.S.-born workers in areas losing immigrants did not gain in income score relative to workers in less exposed areas. Instead, in urban areas, European immigrants were replaced with internal migrants and immigrants from Mexico and Canada. By contrast, farmers shifted toward capital-intensive agriculture, and the immigrant-intensive mining ...
Immigration Disruptions and the Wages of Unskilled Labor in the 1920s
An era of mass immigration into the United States ended with the onset of World War I in Europe, followed by the passage of restrictive immigration laws in 1921 and 1924. We analyze various sources of wage data collected in the 1910-1929 period to explore the impact of this significant disruption of the flow of immigration on the wages of unskilled labor. Our approach to identification entails examining differences in wages across local labor markets and industries differentially exposed to the disruptions in immigration due to different ethnic compositions oftheir immigrant populations in ...