Migration and Economic Mobility: Evidence from the Federal Indian Relocation Act

Awarded Scholars:
Melinda Miller, Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Matthew T. Gregg, Center for Indian Country Development at Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Project Date:
Oct 2021
Award Amount:

Today, two-thirds of Native Americans do not live on tribal lands. Research suggests that migrating away from low-income areas can mitigate the deleterious effects of growing up in a disadvantaged community and improve later-life outcomes for children and young adults. While experiments like the Moving to Opportunity program have been evaluated, economists have largely overlooked the federal program that subsidized the relocation of reservation residents to urban areas. Economists Melinda Miller and Matthew Gregg will extend literature on the Indian Relocation Act by constructing a large-scale dataset of program participants and their family members. They will link program data with Census data to analyze the effects of migration on long-term outcomes for adults and children. The investigators will use children’s incomes and education levels as adults to estimate the impact of relocation on later life outcomes. They will use the 1940 Census to compare migrants to their siblings to identify the causal effect of migration on age at death in order to evaluate outcomes for adults.


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