nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2007‒09‒16
seven papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
Trinity College Dublin

  1. Conspicuous Consumption and Race By Kerwin Kofi Charles; Erik Hurst; Nikolai Roussanov
  2. Dual Citizenship Rights: Do They Make More and Better Citizens? By Francesca Mazzolari
  3. Are Muslim Immigrants Different in Terms of Cultural Integration? By Alberto Bisin; Eleonora Patacchini; Thierry Verdier; Yves Zenou
  4. Task Specialization, Comparative Advantages, and the Effects of Immigration on Wages By Giovanni Peri; Chad Sparber
  5. Auctioning Immigration Visas By Collie, David R.
  6. Language Usage, Participation, Employment and Earnings By Alisher Aldashevy; Johannes Gernandt; Stephan L. Thomsen
  7. Informal Sector, Income Inequality and Economic Development By Prabir C. Bhattacharya

  1. By: Kerwin Kofi Charles; Erik Hurst; Nikolai Roussanov
    Abstract: Using nationally representative data on consumption, we show that Blacks and Hispanics devote larger shares of their expenditure bundles to visible goods (clothing, jewelry, and cars) than do comparable Whites. We demonstrate that these differences exist among virtually all sub-populations, that they are relatively constant over time, and that they are economically large. While racial differences in utility preference parameters might account for a portion of these consumption differences, we emphasize instead a model of status seeking in which conspicuous consumption is used to reflect a household's economic position relative to a reference group. Using merged data on race and state level income, we demonstrate that a key prediction of our model -- that visible consumption should be declining in mean reference group income -- is strongly borne out in the data separately for each racial group. Moreover, we show that accounting for differences in reference group income characteristics explains most of the racial difference in visible consumption. We conclude with an assessment of the role of conspicuous consumption in explaining lower spending by racial minorities on items likes health and education, as well as their lower rates of wealth accumulation.
    JEL: D12 D83 D91 J15
    Date: 2007–09
  2. By: Francesca Mazzolari (University of California at Irvine and IZA)
    Abstract: In the 1990s, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Brazil passed dual citizenship laws granting their expatriates the right to naturalize in the receiving country without losing their nationality of origin. I estimate the effects of these new laws on naturalization rates and labor market outcomes in the United States. Based on data from the 1990 and 2000 U.S. censuses, I find that immigrants recently granted dual nationality rights are more likely to naturalize. They also experience employment and earnings gains, together with drops in welfare use, suggesting that dual citizenship rights not only increase the propensity to naturalize but may also promote economic assimilation. The effects of dual citizenship on improved economic performance, if mediated through naturalization, are consistent with American citizenship conferring greater economic opportunities.
    Keywords: immigrants, dual citizenship, naturalization, assimilation
    JEL: F22 J15 J20 J30
    Date: 2007–08
  3. By: Alberto Bisin (New York University); Eleonora Patacchini (University of Rome "La Sapienza"); Thierry Verdier (PSE and CEPR); Yves Zenou (Stockholm University, GAINS, CEPR, Research Institute of Industrial Economics and IZA)
    Abstract: Using the UK Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities, we explore the determinants of religious identity for Muslims and non-Muslims. We find that Muslims integrate less and more slowly than non-Muslims. A Muslim born in the UK and having spent there more than 50 years shows a comparable level of probability of having a strong religious identity than a non- Muslim just arrived in the country. Furthermore, Muslims seem to follow a different integration pattern than other ethnic and religious minorities. Specifically, high levels of income as well as high on-the-job qualifications increase the Muslims’ sense of identity. We also find no evidence that segregated neighborhoods breed intense religious and cultural identities for ethnic minorities, especially for Muslims. This result casts doubts on the foundations of the integration policies in Europe.
    Keywords: religious identity, assimilation, Muslims
    JEL: A14 J15
    Date: 2007–08
  4. By: Giovanni Peri; Chad Sparber
    Abstract: Many workers with low levels of educational attainment immigrated to the United States in recent decades. Large inflows of less-educated immigrants would reduce wages paid to comparably-educated native-born workers if the two groups compete for similar jobs. In a simple model exploiting comparative advantage, however, we show that if less-educated foreign and native-born workers specialize in performing complementary tasks, immigration will cause natives to reallocate their task supply, thereby reducing downward wage pressure. Using individual data on the task intensity of occupations across US states from 1960-2000, we then demonstrate that foreign-born workers specialize in occupations that require manual tasks such as cleaning, cooking, and building. Immigration causes natives -- who have a better understanding of local networks, rules, customs, and language -- to pursue jobs requiring interactive tasks such as coordinating, organizing, and communicating. Simulations show that this increased specialization mitigated negative wage consequences of immigration for less-educated native-born workers, especially in states with large immigration flows.
    JEL: F22 J31 J61 R13
    Date: 2007–09
  5. By: Collie, David R. (Cardiff Business School)
    Abstract: Freeman (2006) suggested that auctioning immigration visas and redistributing the revenue to native residents in the host country would increase migration from low-income to high-income countries. The effect of the auctioning of immigration visas, in the Ricardian model from Findlay (1982), on the optimal level of immigration for the host country is considered. It is shown that auctioning immigration visas will lead to a positive level of immigration only if the initial wage difference between the host country and the source country is substantial. The cost of the immigration visa is more than half the earnings of the immigrant worker.
    Keywords: Immigration; migration; international trade
    JEL: F22 F12 J61
    Date: 2007–08
  6. By: Alisher Aldashevy; Johannes Gernandt; Stephan L. Thomsen (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)
    Abstract: Language ability may not only affect the earnings of the individual, but the participation to participate in the labor market or becoming employed as well. It may also affect selection of people into economic sectors and occupation. In this paper the effects of language ability on earnings are analyzed for foreigners in Germany with joint consideration of up to four types of self-selection. The results show that language profciency signifcantly increases participation and employment probability and affects earnings directly. However, when self-selection into economic sectors and occupation is regarded, the direct effects of language ability on earnings vanish.
    Keywords: Migration, Language Ability, Multiple Selection, Selection Bias, Germany
    JEL: J61 I12 J15
    Date: 2007–09
  7. By: Prabir C. Bhattacharya
    Abstract: This paper addresses - with the help of numerical simulation - some of the issues relating to income distribution in the context of development of an economy with an informal sector and migration of both low and high skilled workers from the rural to the urban area. A major aim has been to see under what conditions we do or do not get an inverted U-shaped curve of income distribution. The paper finds that the tendency always is for the Gini coefficient to rise and then decline. However, once it starts declining, it need not continuously decline; it may rise, then decline, then rise again and indeed rise above the previous peak before starting to decline again and may well end at the end of the simulation at a higher value than at the start. Any case for the redistribution of income is seen to be much stronger at later stages of development that at earlier stages, even though at later stages, Gini coefficient may be lower than at earlier stages. The policy implications of the findings are briefly considered.
    Keywords: income inequality, Kuznets curve, informal sector, simulation
    JEL: E17
    Date: 2007

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