Research

 
PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS
 
Deterring Emigration with Foreign Aid: An Overview of Evidence from Low-Income Countries (with Michael A. Clemens). Population and Development Review, 44(4): December 2018, pages 667-93. Pre-pub ungated version.
 
Immigration Restrictions as Active Labor Market Policy: Evidence from the Mexican Bracero Exclusion (with Michael A. Clemens and Ethan G. Lewis). American Economic Review, 108(6): June 2018, pages 1468-87. Ungated version.
 
Temporary work visas as US-Haiti development cooperation: a preliminary impact evaluation (with Michael A. Clemens). IZA Journal of Labor and Development, 6(4): December 2017, n.p. Open access.
 
Moving beyond “China in Africa”: Insights from Zambian Immigration Data. Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 46(2): August 2017, pages 155-74. Open access.
 
 
WORKING PAPERS
 
The Future of Mobility and Migration within and from Sub-Saharan Africa (with Loren B. Landau and Caroline Wanjiku Kihato).
 
 
DISSERTATION
 
My dissertation examines the effects of a major US historical immigration ban – Chinese Exclusion – using novel tools to link individual-level historical data. I argue that historical Chinese communities are an important case to study the origins and effects of restrictive immigration policies. By linking census microdata, immigration and emigration records, and mortality registers I will observe how increasingly restrictive policies impacted the economic and geographic mobility of individual Chinese migrants. I will answer questions about the origin of new migrants, movements within the US, and employment specialization to better understand the individual effects of federal immigration restrictions.
 
Committee: Leah Boustan (chair), Tod Hamilton, Beth Lew-Williams, Douglas Massey, Brandon Stewart.
 
 
IN PROCESS
 
Assessing African Migration Aspirations: A Conjoint Analysis
The number of young people in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to triple by 2050, a concerning forecast for many European countries still grappling with sociopoliti- cal fallout from the 2015 migrant surge. Though these fears are likely overblown, as 80% of African migrants remain on the continent, this prevailing narrative indicates we do not fully understand how prospective migrants decide where to move. Existing analyses have relied on ex-post migration stocks and vague survey questions; this project employs a conjoint survey experiment in three African cities to better understand destination preferences among potential migrants. By calculating the marginal importance of specific destination characteristics – including networks, unemployment risk, documentation status, and social services – I aim to inform both improved research on migration aspirations and policy interventions for improved migration outcomes. In the field.
 
The Other Color Line: Racial Boundary Formation in the 19th Century American West
This paper characterizes historical boundaries faced by a non-white immigrant group – Chinese immigrants – for the first time. Drawing on a database of state and local policies as well as census microdata, I show that the Chinese-white boundary was extremely bright for three major social outcomes: intermarriage, occupational segregation, and residential segregation. The nature of this boundary was shaped in a key way unseen for other groups: alienage. As removable non-citizens, the Chinese faced expulsion, a unique form of social control in this era that holds even more resonance today.
 
Dynamics of Displacement: Evidence from Iraq's War against ISIL (with Benjamin Crisman)
From April 2014 to April 2016, an average of 4,000 people per day were internally displaced in Iraq, leading to a displaced population of over 3,000,000 individuals. While it is widely known that violence leads to population displacement, less is understood about the timing and extent of these population movements – key factors in humanitarian response. We develop an approach to identify how violent events shape the geography of internally displaced populations using high-resolution spatio-temporal data from Iraq 2014-2018. We find that, within a two-week period, higher levels of violence correspond to greater numbers of displaced individuals up to 150km from the location of violent events. As violence intensifies, individuals’ ability to flee appears to decrease, leading to higher levels of displacement closer to the violent epicenter. We provide preliminary evidence that individuals both anticipate as well as respond to violence, and that different types of violence lead to different displacement outcomes.