Ariell Zimran
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International Migration Responses to Modern Europe's Most Destructive Earthquake: Messina and Reggio Calabria, 1908
with Yannay Spitzer and Gaspare Tortorici
NBER Working Paper 27506 and CEPR Discussion Paper 15008
Revisions requested by the Journal of Economic History

The Messina-Reggio Calabria Earthquake (1908) was the most devastating natural disaster in modern European history. It occurred when overseas mass emigration from southern Italy was at its peak and international borders were open, making emigration a readily available option for relief. We study the effects of this disaster on international migration. We find that there was no large positive impact on emigration on average. There were, however, heterogeneous responses, with a more positive effect where agricultural day laborers comprised a larger share of the labor force, suggesting that attachment to the land limited an emigration response.