Working Paper No. 1237

Exit, Voice and Political Change: Evidence from Swedish Mass Migration to the United States

Published: October 8, 2018Pages: 127Keywords: Migration; Political change; Labor mobility; Economic historyJEL-codes: D72; J61; P16

Exit, Voice and Political Change: Evidence from Swedish Mass Migration to the United States Mounir Karadja and Erik Prawitz


We study the political effects of mass emigration to the United States in the 19th century using data from Sweden. To instrument for total emigration over several decades, we exploit severe local frost shocks that sparked an initial wave of emigration, interacted with within-country travel costs. Our estimates show that emigration substantially increased the local demand for political change, as measured by labor movement membership, strike participation and voting. Emigration also led to de facto political change, increasing welfare expenditures as well as the likelihood of adopting more inclusive political institutions.

Erik Prawitz

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erik.prawitz@ifn.se

Elgar Companion to

Social Capital and Health

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Martin Ljunge, IFN, is the author of a chapter, "Trust promotes health: addressing reverse causality by studying children of immigrants", in a new book edited by Sherman Folland and Eric Nauenberg. The cutting edge of research is presented, covering the ever-expanding social capital field.

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