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Social Networks and Migrations: Italy 1876-1913

Enrico Moretti
The International Migration Review
Vol. 33, No. 3 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 640-657
DOI: 10.2307/2547529
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2547529
Page Count: 18
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Social Networks and Migrations: Italy 1876-1913
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Abstract

The standard neoclassical economic model of migration introduced by Todaro predicts 1) that migration occurs when the expected net present value of earnings from migrating, weighted by the probability of employment in the destination country, is positive; and 2) that migrants choose as their destination country the one with the largest wage premium net of transportation costs. The pattern of Italian migration to the Americas does not conform to the standard model. I propose an alternative model in which the probability of migrating to a country depends positively on the social networks that link the migrant to that country. Econometric evidence suggests that both the timing and the destination of Italian migration between 1876 and 1913 can be explained by the presence of social networks in the destination country.

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