The Contribution of migration to economic development in Holland and the Netherlands 1510-1900

Foldvari, P., van Leeuwen, B. and van Zanden, J.L.

Migration always played an important role in Dutch society. However, little quantitative evidence on its effect on economic development is known for the period before the 20th century even though some stories exist about their effect on the Golden Age. Applying a new dataset on migration and growth for the period 1510-1900 in a system of equations, we find that in the Golden Age, the 18th century, and the 19th century there was a direct positive effect of migration on productivity. However, when taking account of indirect effects via human and physical capital, only during the Golden Age the net effect of migration on per capita GDP was positive. This seems to confirm those studies that claim that the Golden Age at least partially benefitted from immigration.