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Journal Articles Quarterly Journal of Economics Year : 2023

The Refugee's Dilemma: Evidence from Jewish Migration out of Nazi Germany


We estimate the push and pull factors involved in the outmigration of Jews facing persecution in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1941. Our empirical investigation makes use of a unique individual-level dataset that records the migration history of the Jewish community in Germany over the period. Our analysis highlights new channels, specific to violent contexts, through which social networks affect the decision to flee. We estimate a structural model of migration where individuals base their own migration decision on the observation of persecution and migration among their peers. Identification rests on exogenous variations in local push and pull factors across peers who live in different cities of residence. Then, we perform various experiments of counterfactual history to quantify how migration restrictions in destination countries affected the fate of Jews. For example, removing work restrictions for refugees in the recipient countries after the Nuremberg Laws (of 1935) would have led to an increase in Jewish migration out of Germany in the range of 12 to 20%, and a reduction in mortality due to prevented deportations in the range of 6 to 10%.
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Dates and versions

hal-03861721 , version 1 (20-11-2022)
hal-03861721 , version 2 (29-09-2023)


Attribution - NonCommercial



Johannes Buggle, Thierry Mayer, Seyhun Orcan Sakalli, Mathias Thoenig. The Refugee's Dilemma: Evidence from Jewish Migration out of Nazi Germany. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2023, 138 (2), pp.1273-1345. ⟨10.1093/qje/qjad001⟩. ⟨hal-03861721v2⟩
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