What is the role of access to land for the decision to emigrate? We consider the case of Denmark between 1868 and 1908, when a large number of people left for America. We exploit the fact that the Danish agrarian reforms between 1784 and 1807 had differential impacts on the class of landless laborers around the country, and use detailed parish-level data police protocols of emigrants; population censuses and land registers to show that areas with a more unequal distribution of land witnessed greater emigration. We demonstrate a sizable effect: a one standard deviation increase in the Theil index implies an increase in emigration of 18 percent above the mean.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
- Agrarian reform
- Land inequality