Male and female self-selection during the Portuguese mass migration, 1885–1930

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This paper analyzes migrant self-selection from Portugal between 1885 and 1930 for both men and women. Leveraging newly digitized data on migrants’ characteristics across districts and literacy as a selection indicator, we document that self-selection was positive over the entire period but varied markedly across space and time. In some districts, migrants’ literacy was similar to the general population, while in others over three times as large. In line with models of household migration, selection was significantly lower among migrant women, who were more likely to be tied movers. Our econometric analyses show a large negative relationship between migrant flows and self-selection, notably among men. We also find that the vintage of networks mattered differently by gender: male self-selection was more responsive to recent flows, while female self-selection was mostly influenced by past flows.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101555
JournalExplorations in Economic History
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • Migration
  • Self-selection
  • Women
  • Portugal

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