Ariell Zimran
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The Effects of Immigration in a Developing Country: Brazil in the Age of Mass Migration
with David Escamilla-Guerrero and Andrea Papadia

The effects of immigration are reasonably well understood in developed countries, but they are far more poorly understood in developing countries despite their importance as immigrant destinations. We address this shortcoming by studying the effects of immigration to Brazil during the Age of Mass Migration on its agricultural sector in 1920. This context is informative of developing countries' experience because Brazil in this period was unique among major migrant destinations as a low-income country with a large agricultural sector and weak institutions. Instrumenting for a municipality's immigrant share using the interaction of aggregate immigrant inflows and the expansion of Brazil's railway network, we find that a greater immigrant share in a municipality led to an increase in farm values. We show that the bulk of the effect of immigration can be explained by more intense cultivation of land, which we attribute to temporary immigrants exerting greater labor effort than natives or permanent immigrants. Finally, we find that it is unlikely that immigration's effect on agriculture slowed Brazil's structural transformation.