Effects of Immigration Restriction: Evidence from Chinese Exclusion

Hannah Postel, Population Research

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 12:00pm
LAPA Conference Room, 348 Wallace Hall
Event Category: 
Graduate Students

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LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.

Abstract:  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. Though there has been no quantitative assessment of this policy, new probabilistic matching techniques make such an evaluation possible. I link census microdata, immigration and emigration files, residence and identity certificates issued under Exclusion, and mortality records to observe how increasingly restrictive policies impacted individual Chinese immigrants’ economic and geographic mobility.  I will answer questions about the origin of new migrants, movements within the US, and employment specialization to better understand the individual effects of federal immigration restrictions.


Hannah Postel
Population Research

Hannah Postel is a PhD student in Demography and Social Policy at Princeton University and Research Associate at the Overseas Development Institute. Specific interests include how foreign aid and economic development affect migration, migration policy as a tool for development, historical migration trends, and migration statistics. Her research has been published in the American Economic Review and Population and Development Review and cited in multiple media outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist. Hannah has previously worked with the International Organization for Migration and the Center for Global Development, and holds a degree in international political economy from Middlebury College.