School of Economics

2017 Discussion papers

School of Economics Discussion Paper 17/10

The Determinants of International Migration in Early
Modern Europe: Evidence from the Maritime Sector,
c. 1700–1800

Alexander Klein, University of Kent
Jelle van Lottum, Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

June 2017


This paper offers the first multivariate regression study of international migration in early modern Europe. Using unique eighteenth-century data about maritime workers, we created a data set of migration flows among European countries to examine the role of factors related to geography, population, language, the market and chain migration in explaining the migration of these workers across countries. We show that among all factors considered in our multivariate analysis, the geographical characteristics of the destination countries, size of port towns, and chain migration are among the most robust and quantitatively the most important factors influencing cross-country migration flows.

JEL Classification: F22; F63

Keywords: international migration; economic development

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Last Updated: 04/07/2017