International Migration Responses to Natural Disasters: Evidence from Modern Europe's Most Destructive Earthquake

53 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2020 Last revised: 10 Apr 2022

See all articles by Yannay Spitzer

Yannay Spitzer

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Gaspare Tortorici

Heidelberg University - Alfred Weber Institute for Economics

Ariell Zimran

Vanderbilt University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2020

Abstract

The Messina-Reggio Calabria Earthquake (1908) was the most devastating natural disaster in modern European history. It occurred when overseas mass emigration from southern Italy was at its peak and international borders were open, making emigration a readily available option for relief. We use this event to study the effects of natural disasters on international migration. We find that there was no large positive impact on emigration on average. There were, however, heterogeneous responses, with a more positive effect where agricultural day laborers comprised a larger share of the labor force, suggesting that attachment to the land limited an emigration response.

Suggested Citation

Spitzer, Yannay and Tortorici, Gaspare and Zimran, Ariell, International Migration Responses to Natural Disasters: Evidence from Modern Europe's Most Destructive Earthquake (July 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27506, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3649870

Yannay Spitzer (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel

Gaspare Tortorici

Heidelberg University - Alfred Weber Institute for Economics ( email )

Grabengasse 14
Heidelberg, D-69117
Germany

Ariell Zimran

Vanderbilt University ( email )

2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
United States

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