|Title||Skill selectivity in transatlantic migration : The case of Canary Islanders in Cuba|
|Source||Revista de Historia Economica - Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History 33 (2015)2. - ISSN 0212-6109 - p. 189 - 222.|
Rural and Environmental History
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||human capital - institutions - Latin America - migration - numeracy|
The skill composition of European migrants to the New World and their contribution to the human capital and institutional formation in destination countries are popular topics in economic history. This study assesses the skill composition of 19th century transatlantic migrants to Cuba. It finds that nearly half of the European immigrants originate from the Spanish province of the Canary Islands, which displays the lowest literacy and numeracy rates of Spain. Even within this province, those who left belonged to the least skilled section of the population. By promoting the influx of a cheap and poorly educated white workforce that replaced African slaves on their sugar estates, large landowners in Cuba contributed to the perpetuation of high economic, political and social inequality.