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DPP Evidence-Based Policymaking Seminar (EBPM): The Refugee's Dilemma: Evidence from Jewish Outmigration in Nazi Germany

Johannes Buggle
Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm

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%.

About the Speaker

Johannes Buggle is an applied microeconomist studying questions in political economy, long-run development, and migration with a strong focus on economic history. In his research, he has analyzed a diverse set of topics, including the migration of the Jewish population from Germany, populist voting in the 19th century US, forced labor in the Russian Empire, and the environmental origins of cultural norms. He holds a Ph.D. from Sciences Po, Paris, and is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Vienna.