Forced Migration and Human Capital: CAGE working paper accepted in American Economic ReviewFriday 17 Jan 2020
CAGE Associate and former Research Director Sascha Becker alongside his co-authors Irena Grosfeld, Pauline Grosjean, Nico Voigtländer and Ekaterina Zhuravskaya undertook research to understand the long-run effects of forced migration on investment in education.
They studied the effect of forced migration after World War II, when the Polish borders were redrawn and Poles were forced to move from the Kresy territories in the East (taken over by the USSR) and were resettled to newly acquired Western Territories. By analysing historical censuses alongside newly collected survey data, they found that while there were no differences in education before World War II, Poles with a history of forced migration are significantly more educated today. Descendants of forced migrants have on average one extra year of schooling, driven by a higher propensity to finish secondary or higher education. The effects persist over three generations. The evidence suggests that forced migration led to a shift in preferences, away from material possessions and towards investment in a mobile asset – human capital.
The paper has been recently accepted into the American Economic Review, and was cited in the Wall Street Journal newsletter on 10th January 2020.