Immigration and the Trade of Provinces

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Abstract

A link between immigration, imports, and exports has been found by a number of papers that have used the gravity equation to analyze bilateral trade patterns. We discuss what this research implies about the mechanisms through which immigrants expand trade and identify strengths and weakness of the various approaches. This paper also contributes to this literature by estimating immigrant effects for Canada using cross-province variation in international trade and immigration patterns. We derive an alternative functional form capturing the relationship between immigration and trade based on the proposition that immigrants use their connections and superior ‘market intelligence’ to exploit trade opportunities that non-immigrants do not access. We find that the average new immigrant expands exports to his/her native country by $312 and expands imports by $944.

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