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
Published version

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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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State

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This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

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