nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2007‒04‒21
four papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
Trinity College Dublin

  1. Great Expectations? The Subjective Well-Being of Rural-Urban Migrants in China By John Knight; Ramani Gunatilaka
  2. Going Home: Evacuation-Migration Decisions of Hurricane Katrina Survivors By Craig E. Landry; Okmyung Bin; Paul Hindsley; John C. Whitehead; Kenneth Wilson
  3. Equipping Immigrants: Migration Flows and Capital Movements By Fabian Lange; Douglas Gollin
  4. Brain Drain, Fiscal Competition, and Public Education Expenditure By Hartmut Egger; Josef Falkinger; Volker Grossmann

  1. By: John Knight; Ramani Gunatilaka
    Abstract: This paper may be the first to link the literatures on migration and on subjective well-being in developing countries. It poses the question: why do rural-urban migrant households settled in urban China have an average happiness score lower than that of rural households? Three basic hypotheses are examined: migrants had false expectations about their future urban conditions, or about their future urban aspirations, or about their future selves. Estimated happiness functions and decomposition analyses, based on a 2002 national household survey, indicate that certain features of migrant conditions make for unhappiness, and that their high aspirations in relation to achievement, influenced by reference groups, also make for unhappiness. It is difficult to form unbiased expectations about life in a new and different world.
    Keywords: Rural-urban migration, Subjective well-being, Happiness, Relative deprivation, Aspirations, China
    JEL: I32 O15
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Craig E. Landry; Okmyung Bin; Paul Hindsley; John C. Whitehead; Kenneth Wilson
    Abstract: In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, many evacuees from the Gulf region began the difficult process of deciding whether to rebuild or restart elsewhere. We examine pre-Katrina Gulf residents’ decision to return to the post-disaster Gulf region—which we call the “return migration” decision. We estimate two separate return migration models, first utilizing data from a mail survey of individuals in the affected region and then focusing on self-administered questionnaires of evacuees in Houston. Our results indicate that return migration can be affected by household income; age; education level; employment, marital and home ownership status; but the results depend upon the population under consideration. We find no impact of “connection to place” on the return migration decision. While the impact of income is relatively small, we find that the real wage differential between home and host region influences the likelihood of return. Larger implicit costs, in terms of foregone wages for returning, induce a lower likelihood of return. Exploiting this difference at the individual level, we are able to produce estimates of willingness to pay to return home. Average WTP to return home for a sample of relatively poor households is estimated at $1.94 per hour or $3,954 per year.
    Date: 2007
  3. By: Fabian Lange (Yale University and IZA); Douglas Gollin (Williams College)
    Abstract: Both policy makers and researchers have devoted considerable attention in recent years to the large current account and capital account imbalances among OECD countries. In particular, the size of the United States current account deficit has attracted intense attention and spawned numerous explanations. There are undoubtedly many reasons for this deficit, including government fiscal policy imbalances, but one explanation that has not previously received much attention is that current account deficits and the matching capital inflows are responses to international flows of labor. Migrants must be equipped with machines, and the resulting demands for capital are likely, all else being equal, to generate cross-border flows of capital. This paper explores the extent to which migration-related capital flows can explain the movements and magnitudes of current and capital account imbalances in OECD countries.
    Keywords: migration, capital flows
    JEL: F21 F22
    Date: 2007–04
  4. By: Hartmut Egger (University of Zurich, CESifo and GEP); Josef Falkinger (University of Zurich, CESifo and IZA); Volker Grossmann (University of Fribourg, CESifo and IZA)
    Abstract: This paper uses a two-country model with integrated markets for high-skilled labor to analyze the opportunities and incentives for national governments to provide higher education. Countries can differ in productivity, and education is financed through a wage tax, so that brain drain affects the tax base and has agglomeration effects. We study unilateral possibilities for triggering or avoiding brain drain and compare education policies and migration patterns in non-cooperative political equilibria with the consequences of bilateral cooperation between countries. We thereby demonstrate that bilateral coordination tends to increase public education expenditure compared to non-cooperation. At the same time, it aims at preventing migration. This is not necessarily desirable from the point of view of a social planner who takes account of the interests of migrants.
    Keywords: brain drain, educational choice, public education policy, locational competition
    JEL: F22 H52
    Date: 2007–04

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