Mobility Effects of Immigration Restriction: Evidence from Chinese Exclusion

Hannah Postel, Princeton University

This project links individual-level historical data to assess the effects of a historical immigration ban. The Chinese Exclusion Act, passed in 1882 and made permanent in 1904, achieved its goal of severely restricting Chinese immigration to the United States. However, there has been no quantitative assessment of this policy, due largely to data aggregation and the missing 1890 census. However, new probabilistic matching techniques make such an evaluation possible. By linking newly released census microdata, immigration and deportation files, and mortality records, I will be able to observe how increasingly restrictive exclusion policies impacted individual Chinese immigrants’ economic and geographic mobility. This paper focuses late 20th century New York City, whose Chinatown unexpectedly doubled in size from 1880 to 1900. I will answer questions about the origin of new migrants, movements within the US, and employment specialization to better understand how federal-level immigration policy affects individual lives.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 153. Effects of Migration Regulation and Restriction