Research Seminar: Migration and Cultural Change


Monday, May 9, 2022, 10:15am to 11:30am


Weil Town Hall - Belfer/Zoom (registration info below)

The Growth Lab Research Seminar series is a weekly seminar that brings together researchers from across the academic spectrum who share an interest in growth and development.

Speaker: Hillel Rapoport, Professor of Economics (and Director of International Relations) at the Paris School of Economics

Abstract: We propose a novel perspective on migration and cultural change by asking both theoretically and empirically – and from a global viewpoint – whether migration is a source of cultural convergence or divergence between home and host countries. Our theoretical model derives distinctive testable predictions as to the sign and direction of convergence for various compositional and cultural diffusion mechanisms. We use the World Value Survey for 1981-2014 to build time-varying measures of cultural similarity for a large number of country pairs and exploit within country-pair variation over time. Our results support migration-based cultural convergence, with cultural remittances as its main driver. In other words and in contrast to the populist narrative, we find that while immigrants do act as vectors of cultural diffusion, this is mostly to export the host country culture back home.

Please register in advance, and contact Chuck McKenney with any questions. The seminar will be hybrid, with Hillel presenting in-person for the Harvard community only in Weil Town Hall.

About the speaker:

Hillel Rapoport is Professor of Economics (and Director of International Relations) at the Paris School of Economics, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and Senior Member of the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF) since 2021. He is also a research fellow at CEPII, IZA, CESifo, Harvard CID, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, LISER, and European Development Network (EUDN). He was a member of Bar-Ilan University until 2013 and held visiting positions at Stanford University (in 2001-03) and at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (in 2009-11). Since 2008 he is the scientific coordinator of the “Migration and Development” annual conferences jointly organized by the World Bank and the French Development Agency. His research focuses on the growth and developmental impact of migration and on the economics of immigration, diversity, and refugees’ integration.