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 travel-
ling with (previously unrelated) higher quality shipmates end up being employed in
higher quality jobs at destination. Several ndings suggest that shipmates provide
access and/or information about employment opportunities. Firstly, immigrants'
sector of employment and place of residence are a ected by those of their ship-
mates' contacts. Secondly, the baseline e ects are stronger for individuals travelling
alone and with fewer connections at destination. Thirdly, immigrants are a ected
more strongly by shipmates who share their language. These ndings underline the
sizeable e ects of even brief social connections, provided that they occur during
critical life junctures.