Publication Date

6-2010

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Employing data on US immigrants and trade with 59 home countries for the years 1996–2001, we compare the extent to which refugee and nonrefugee immigrants affect US trade with their home countries and provide the first evidence of variation in the US immigrant–trade relationship across immigrant types. We also consider the abilities of refugee and non-refugee immigrants to offset the trade-inhibiting influence of cultural distance. Our results show that while immigrants, in general, exert positive influences on US imports from – and exports to – their home countries, the influence of refugee immigrants is quite minimal when compared with that of non-refugee immigrants. For both immigrant types, however, evidence supporting the notion that immigrants act to offset cultural distance is observed. To conceptualize the economic meaning of our results, we provide estimates of the extent to which each type of immigrants offset transport costs.

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