Migration and International Trade

Migration and International Trade

The US Experience Since 1945

Roger White

This unique book synthesizes and extends the immigrant–trade literature and provides comprehensive coverage of this timely and important topic. In that vein, the author contributes to the understanding of the relationship between immigration and trade and sheds light on a noteworthy aspect of globalization that both confronts policymakers with challenges and offers the potential to overcome them.

Chapter 3: Lessons from Prior Studies of the Immigrant–Trade Link

Roger White

Subjects: development studies, migration, economics and finance, international economics, politics and public policy, migration, social policy and sociology, migration, urban and regional studies, migration


This chapter discusses the key findings of a number of prior studies of the immigrant–trade relationship. The literature, in general, is comprised of empirical examinations, and augmented gravity equations have typically been the econometric specifications of choice. A variety of estimation techniques have been employed to examine the immigrant–trade relationship for a considerable number of host countries, various home country cohorts, several product types/classifications, and many time periods. Reviewing the literature provides information that allows for the formulation of a series of testable hypotheses. The individual facets of the immigrant–trade relationship provide information that deepens our understanding of the topic and this, in turn, allows for the formulation of a richer set of expectations regarding the US immigrant–trade link. These hypotheses are examined as part of the quantitative analysis presented in Chapters 8 to 10. The review begins with a detailed discussion of Gould’s (1994) paper and then proceeds to discuss a number of more recent studies. 3.1 IDENTIFICATION OF THE IMMIGRANT– TRADE RELATIONSHIP Examining annual data for the US and 47 immigrant home countries that span the period 1970–86, Gould (1994) utilized regression analysis to answer the principal question: do immigrants enhance host–home country trade flows? Secondary questions related to the effect that the duration of the average immigrant’s stay in the US may have on US–home country trade, whether the skill composition of immigrant populations influences trade, by how much an additional immigrant contributes annually to exports and to imports, whether...

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