Research Papers

Italian Migration to the United States: The Role of Pioneers’ Locations                       Job Market Paper

This paper investigates the effect of size and location decisions of early migrants’ flows on migration and settlement decisions of subsequent migrants from the same communities of origin. Filling a gap in the historical data, I focus on Italian mass migration to the US at the turn of the twentieth century and combine new data sets with a surname matching technique to generate new estimates of the yearly migratory flow from each Italian municipality to each US county. The empirical strategy exploits variation across time, origin municipalities, and destination counties and uses an instrumental variables approach. I find that municipalities connected to counties with a one standard deviation higher income displayed an 2.3 per-thousand increase in migration rates to the US later on. Moreover, given a one standard deviation increase in county income, a one standard deviation increase in the concentration of early migrants from a given municipality on that same county increases the probability for subsequent migrants from the same origin to migrate to that county by 0.028 percentage points, and reduces their concentration there by 7.8 percentage points.

Do Dictatorships Affect People’s Long Term Beliefs and Preferences? An Empirical Assessment of the Latin American Case R&R, Journal of Development Economics

Does the political regime experienced during youth have long lasting effects on political beliefs and preferences? I exploit time and country variation in political regimes in Latin America using data from the 1995 to 2010 Latinobarometer and find that exposure to non-democratic regimes during youth reduces subsequent preference for democracy, satisfaction with democracy and confidence in institutions. These results suggest exposure to dictatorships during formative years permanently eroded democratic values. Exposure to non-democratic regimes also affects self-location in an ideology scale, reducing identification with the Right and increasing identification with the Left; which suggests dictatorships also shaped the political orientation of voters.

Italian Migration to the United States: The Role of Migrant Networks

This paper investigates the effect of network size on literacy levels of Italian migrants to the US at the turn of the twentieth century. I exploit unused ship manifest micro data and reconstruct migratory flows to the US by municipality of origin. This allows me to evaluate self-selection patterns at the sub-national level and by cohort, which shows positive selection for the lower tail of the literacy distribution. I use cross-sectional variation in the size of the migrant stock across municipalities of origin and use instrumental variables to asses measurement error. I find that increased migrant network size by municipality of origin is associated with a reduction in literacy for later migrants. Moreover, larger network size is also associated with lower immigrant age, and a higher proportion of women and agricultural workers in subsequent migratory flows. Results are consistent with migrant networks reducing migration costs and increasing emigration rates for lower quality (prospective) migrants.


 Publications (pre-PhD)