August 2003

IZA DP No. 863: Immigrant Religious Adjustment: An Economic Approach to Jewish Migrations

An economic theory of immigration and immigrant absorption for a religious minority is developed and applied to Jewish history. Human capital is classified according to whether it is allocative or productive, transferable or location-specific, general or Jewish. Crossclassifying these categories leads to various hypotheses about self-selection among Jewish immigrants and their influence on the Jewish community in their destination. Complementarity between general and Jewish human capital is also discussed as a factor in the development of location-specific Jewish human capital and its corresponding Jewish culture.