nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2008‒03‒25
thirteen papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
Australian National University

  1. Ethnic Differences in Health: Does Immigration Status Matter? By Karen M. Kobayashi; Steven Prus; Zhiqiu Lin
  2. Estimating the impact of immigrants on the host country social security system when return migration is an endogenous choice By Kirdar, Murat G.
  3. Imperfect Substitution between Immigrants and Natives: A Reappraisal By George J. Borjas; Jeffrey Grogger; Gordon H. Hanson
  4. The Labor Market Impact of Immigration in Western Germany in the 1990's By Francesco D'Amuri; Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano; Giovanni Peri
  5. Mexican-American Entrepreneurship By Robert W. Fairlie; Christopher Woodruff
  6. Aspirations, Adaptation and Subjective Well-Being of Rural-Urban Migrants in China By John Knight; Ramani Gunatilaka
  8. Migration Experiences of North Korean Refugees: Survey Evidence from China By Yoonok Chang; Stephan Haggard; Marcus Noland
  9. The Rise and Fall of Asylum: What Happened and Why? By Timothy Hatton
  10. Brain Drain and its Determinants: A Major Issue for Small States By Beine, Michel; Docquier, Frédéric; Schiff, Maurice
  11. Measuring Skilled Emigration Rates: The Case of Small States By Docquier, Frédéric; Schiff, Maurice
  12. The African Brain Drain: Scope and Determinants By Abdeslam Marfouk
  13. Remittances and the Brain Drain: Skilled Migrants Do Remit Less By Niimi, Yoko; Ozden, Caglar; Schiff, Maurice

  1. By: Karen M. Kobayashi; Steven Prus; Zhiqiu Lin
    Abstract: This study examines health differences between first-generation immigrant and Canadian-born persons who share the same the ethnocultural origin, and the extent to which such differences reflect social structural and health-related behavioural contexts. Data from the 2000/2001 Canadian Community Health Survey show that first generation immigrants of Black and French race/ethnicity tend to have better health than their Canadian-born counterparts, while the opposite is true for those of South Asian, Chinese, and south and east European and Jewish origins. West Asians and Arabs and other Asian groups are advantaged in health regardless of country of birth. Health differences between ethnic foreign- and Canadian-born persons generally converge after adjusting for socio-demographic, SES, and lifestyle factors. Implications for health care policy and program development are discussed.
    Keywords: self-rated health; functional health; ethnicity; race; immigration
    JEL: I18
    Date: 2008–03
  2. By: Kirdar, Murat G.
    Abstract: In this paper, I examine the impact of immigrants on the social security system in Germany when return migration is an endogenous choice. For this purpose, I develop a dynamic stochastic model of joint return migration and saving decisions that accounts for uncertainty in future employment and income and estimate this model using a longitudinal dataset on immigrants from five different source countries. I find that immigrants make positive net contributions to both the pension and unemployment insurance systems in Germany regardless of their country of origin and age-at-entry. Moreover, the magnitudes of the net contributions are remarkable for certain groups. Return migration plays a critical role in generating these positive net contributions. In a counterfactual, I examine how much exogenous modeling of the return decision, which has been the practice of the literature so far, changes immigrants’ net contributions. Such a restriction causes a serious misestimation of net contributions. I also examine the impact of a counterfactual policy experiment in which financial bonuses are provided conditional on return to certain unemployed immigrants. Such a policy turns out to be ineffective in a number of dimensions.
    Keywords: Immigrant Workers; Life Cycle Models and Saving; Social Security and Public Pensions; Unemployment Insurance; Public Policy
    JEL: H55 J65 J61 D91
    Date: 2008–03
  3. By: George J. Borjas; Jeffrey Grogger; Gordon H. Hanson
    Abstract: In a recent paper, Ottaviano and Peri (2007a) report evidence that immigrant and native workers are not perfect substitutes within narrowly defined skill groups. The resulting complementarities have important policy implications because immigration may then raise the wage of many native-born workers. We examine the Ottaviano-Peri empirical exercise and show that their finding of imperfect substitution is fragile and depends on the way the sample of working persons is constructed. There is a great deal of heterogeneity in labor market attachment among workers and the finding of imperfect substitution disappears once the analysis adjusts for such heterogeneity. As an example, the finding of immigrant-native complementarity evaporates simply by removing high school students from the data (under the Ottaviano and Peri classification, currently enrolled high school juniors and seniors are included among high school dropouts, which substantially increases the counts of young low-skilled workers ). More generally, we cannot reject the hypothesis that comparably skilled immigrant and native workers are perfect substitutes once the empirical exercise uses standard methods to carefully construct the variables representing factor prices and factor supplies.
    JEL: J01 J61
    Date: 2008–03
  4. By: Francesco D'Amuri; Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano; Giovanni Peri
    Abstract: We adopt a general equilibrium approach in order to measure the effects of recent immigration on the Western German labor market, looking at both wage and employment effects. Using the Regional File of the IAB Employment Subsample for the period 1987-2001, we find that the substantial immigration of the 1990's had no adverse effects on native wages and employment levels. It had instead adverse employment and wage effects on previous waves of immigrants. This stems from the fact that, after controlling for education and experience levels, native and migrant workers appear to be imperfect substitutes whereas new and old immigrants exhibit perfect substitutability. Our analysis suggests that if the German labor market were as 'flexible' as the UK labor market, it would be more efficient in dealing with the effects of immigration.
    JEL: E24 F22 J31 J61
    Date: 2008–03
  5. By: Robert W. Fairlie; Christopher Woodruff
    Abstract: Although business ownership has implications for income inequality, wealth accumulation and job creation, surprisingly little research explores why Mexican-Americans are less likely to start businesses and why the businesses that they start are less successful on average than non-Latino whites. We conduct a comprehensive analysis of Mexican-American entrepreneurship using microdata from the 2000 U.S. Census, the matched and unmatched March and Outgoing Rotation Group Files of the Current Population Survey from 1994 to 2004, and the Legalized Population Survey (LPS). We find that low levels of education and wealth explain the entire gap between Mexican immigrants and non-Latino whites in business formation rates. Nearly the entire gap in business income for Mexican immigrants is explained by low levels of education and limited English language ability. Using the natural experiment created by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), we find that legal status represents an additional barrier for Mexican immigrants. A conservative estimate suggests that the lack of legal status reduces business ownership rates by roughly seven-tenths of a percentage point for both men and women. Human and financial capital deficiencies are found to limit business ownership and business success among second and third-generation Mexican-Americans, but to a lesser extent. These findings have implications for the debates over the selection of immigrants and the assimilation of Mexican-Americans in the U.S. economy.
    Keywords: Mexican-Americans, entrepreneurship, self-employment
    JEL: J15
    Date: 2008–03
  6. By: John Knight; Ramani Gunatilaka
    Abstract: This research is among 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? It examines the hypothesis that migrants have false expectations because they cannot foresee how their aspirations will adapt to their new situation, and draws on research on both psychology and sociology. Estimated happiness functions and decomposition analyses, based on a 2002 national household survey, suggest that their high aspirations in relation to achievement, influenced by their new reference groups, make for unhappiness. The evidence is consistent with the hypothesis.
    Keywords: Rural-Urban Migration, Subjective Well-Being, Happiness, Relative Deprivation, Aspirations, China
    JEL: I32 O15
    Date: 2008
  7. By: Talpos, Ioan; Dima, Bogdan; Mutascu, Mihai; Enache, Cosmin
    Abstract: The human movements across borders, societies and cultures are not running in an “empty space”: the structural characteristics of the economic systems, the institutional architecture of societies, the cultural paradigm and the power relations between different social groups, define the magnitude and the limits of such movements. If the “hard” economic migration determinants are extensively explained in an abundant literature, the “soft” psychological/cultural determinants of “leave your old life” decision are less analyzed. This paper advances a model for the interactions between these factors and the economic ones and tries to explain their influences. The main output consists in the thesis that the “soft” variables matters in a extended explanation of migration and that their exclusion picture a too abstract analysis of intrinsic migration motifs.
    Keywords: labor net migration; factors; cultural paradigm
    JEL: F22 C33
    Date: 2008–01–20
  8. By: Yoonok Chang (Hansei University, Foreign Language Education Center, Department of Graduate Education); Stephan Haggard (University of California, San Diego Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies); Marcus Noland (Peterson Institute for International Economics)
    Abstract: Chronic food shortages, political repression, and poverty have driven tens of thousands of North Koreans into China. This paper reports results from a large-scale survey of this refugee population. The survey provides insight not only into the material circumstances of the refugees but also into their psychological state and aspirations. One key finding is that many North Korean refugees suffer severe psychological stress akin to post-traumatic stress disorder. This distress is caused in part by their vulnerability in China, but it is also a result of the long shadow cast by the North Korean famine and abuses suffered at the hands of the North Korean political regime: first and foremost, perceptions of unfairness with respect to the distribution of food aid, death of family members during the famine, and incarceration in the North Korean gulag, where the respondents reported witnessing forced starvation, deaths due to torture, and even infanticide and forced abortions. These traumas, in turn, affect the ability of the refugees to hold jobs in China and accumulate resources for on-migration to third countries. Most of the refugees want to permanently resettle in South Korea, though younger, better-educated refugees prefer the United States as a final destination.
    Keywords: North Korea, China, refugees, migration
    JEL: P2 P3 F22
    Date: 2008–04
  9. By: Timothy Hatton
    Abstract: In the last 20 years, developed countries have struggled with what seemed to be an ever rising tide of asylum seekers, a trend that has now gone into reverse. This paper examines what happened and why. How have oppression, violence and economic conditions in origin countries shaped worldwide trends in asylum applications? And has the toughening of policy towards asylum seekers since 2001 reduced the numbers? What policies have been effective and which host countries have been most affected? This paper surveys the trends in asylum seeking since the 1980s and the literature that it has generated and it provides new regression estimates of the determinants of asylum applications up to the present. The key findings are first, that violence and terror can account for much of the variation across source countries and over time but it cannot fully explain the original surge in asylum applications during the 1980s. And second, while tougher policies did have a deterrent effect, they account for only about a third of the decline in applications since 2001.
    Keywords: asylum, refugees, immigration policy
    JEL: J15 J61 I38 F22
    Date: 2008–03
  10. By: Beine, Michel (University of Luxembourg); Docquier, Frédéric (Catholic University of Louvain); Schiff, Maurice (World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between the brain drain and country size, as well as the extent of small states’ overall loss of human capital. We find that small states are the main losers because they i) lose a larger proportion of their skilled labor force and ii) exhibit stronger reactions to standard push factors. We also observe that the correlation between human capital indicators and country size is close to zero. This suggests that small states are more successful in producing skilled natives and less successful in retaining them.
    Keywords: brain drain, small states, human capital, openness
    JEL: F22 J24 J61 O15
    Date: 2008–03
  11. By: Docquier, Frédéric (Catholic University of Louvain); Schiff, Maurice (World Bank)
    Abstract: Recent changes in information and communication technologies (ICT) have contributed to a dramatic increase in the integration and interdependence of countries, markets and people. This paper focuses on an increasingly important aspect of globalization, the international movement of people, with emphasis on the mobility of skilled people. This issue is of great concern for the many small states that experience huge brain drain levels.
    Keywords: migration, skilled, brain drain, small states, evidence
    JEL: F22
    Date: 2008–03
  12. By: Abdeslam Marfouk (DULBEA-CERT, Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels)
    Abstract: This paper empirically examines the determinants of highly-skilled emigration from Africa with recent original data set on international migration. The analysis shows that 10 out of the 53 African countries have lost more than 35 per cent of the their tertiary educated labor force and countries such as Cape Verde (68 percent), Gambia (63 percent), Seychelles (56 percent), Maurice (56 percent) and Sierra Leone (53 percent) suffered from a massive brain drain. Regression models reveal that economic and noneconomic considerations have a strong impact on the African brain drain. This study finds that the degree of fractionalization (ethnic, linguistic and religious) at origin countries, jobs opportunities at destination countries, selective immigration policies, wage gap, geographical distance, former colonial links, and linguistic proximity between countries of origin and destination are the main forces driving highly-skilled emigration from Africa.
    Keywords: International Migration, Human Capital, African Brain Drain, Labor Mobility
    Date: 2008–03
  13. By: Niimi, Yoko (World Bank); Ozden, Caglar (World Bank); Schiff, Maurice (World Bank)
    Abstract: It has been argued that the brain drain’s negative impact may be offset by the higher remittance levels skilled migrants send home. This paper examines whether remittances actually increase with migrants’ education level. The determinants of remittances it considers include migration levels or rates, migrants’ education level, and source countries’ income, financial sector development and expected growth rate. The estimation takes potential endogeneity into account, an issue not considered in the few studies on this topic. Our main finding is that remittances decrease with the share of migrants with tertiary education. This provides an additional reason for which source countries would prefer unskilled to skilled labor migration. Moreover, as predicted by our model, remittances increase with source countries’ level and rate of migration, financial sector development and population, and decrease with these countries’ income and expected growth rate.
    Keywords: migration, remittances, education level, brain drain
    JEL: F22 F24 J61 O15 O16
    Date: 2008–03

This nep-mig issue is ©2008 by Yuji Tamura. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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