Immigration in American economic history

Joseph P Ferrie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Immigration has been a powerful force is the US economy right from the period of initial settlement in the early seventeenth century. It has been instrumental in building the nation’s infrastructure, transforming its manufacturing sector, and growing its labor force, as it transferred human capital from where it was initially generated (abroad) to where it was productively employed (the United States). This chapter surveys the impact on the economy, on the immigrants themselves, and on the Americans they joined in four eras: (1) settlement (1600s-1700s); (2) the first “Great Wave” (1800-1890); (3) the second “Great Wave” (1890-1920s); and (4) the post-1965 period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of American Economic History
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780190882617
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Economy
  • Human capital
  • Immigration
  • Infrastructure
  • Manufacturing
  • great wave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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