Research Seminar Series on Global Challenges – Diego Battiston (University of Edinburgh), 24th September 2020 at 10.30 a.m. (CET)

Global Challenges Seminar Series

Diego Battiston (University of Edinburgh) on “The Persistent Effects of Brief Interactions: Evidence from Immigrant Ships“, jointly organised by the Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano, BAFFI CAREFIN and the Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods (University of Milan) in collaboration with the Dipartimento di Economia, Metodi Quantitativi e Strategie di Impresa (Università Milano Bicocca) and the Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale (Politecnico di Milano).
The webinar will be held on Thursday, 24th September 2020 at 10:30 a.m. (CET) via Zoom:
Meeting ID: 893 7904 7538
Password: 2S2XDv


This paper shows that brief social interactions can have a large impact on economic outcomes when they occur in high-stakes decision contexts. I study this question using a high frequency and detailed geolocalized dataset of matched immigrants-ships from the age of mass migration. Individuals exogenously travelling with (previously unrelated) higher quality shipmates end up being employed in higher quality jobs at destination. Several findings suggest that shipmates provide access and/or information about employment opportunities. Firstly, immigrants’ sector of employment and place of residence are affected by those of their shipmates’ contacts. Secondly, the baseline effects are stronger for individuals travelling alone and with fewer connections at destination. Thirdly, immigrants are affected more strongly by shipmates who share their language. These findings underline the sizeable effects of even brief social connections, provided that they occur during critical life junctures.