“Immigration and the Diffusion of Technology: The Huguenot Diaspora in Prussia,” E. Hornung (2014)

Initially I wanted to write about this interesting paper here. One part of my family descends from Huguenot immigrants to Königsberg/Prussia. So it has a very personal notion to me too. But then found out that Kevin Bryan already has a post about it to which I have not much to add.

A Fine Theorem

Is immigration good for natives of the recipient country? This is a tough question to answer, particularly once we think about the short versus long run. Large-scale immigration might have bad short-run effects simply because more L plus fixed K means lower average incomes in essentially any economic specification, but even given that fact, immigrants bring with them tacit knowledge of techniques, ideas, and plans which might be relatively uncommon in the recipient country. Indeed, world history is filled with wise leaders who imported foreigners, occasionally by force, in order to access their knowledge. As that knowledge spreads among the domestic population, productivity increases and immigrants are in the long-run a net positive for native incomes.

How substantial can those long-run benefits be? History provides a nice experiment, described by Erik Hornung in a just-published paper. The Huguenots, French protestants, were largely expelled from France after the Edict of Nantes…

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