nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2009‒05‒16
seventeen papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
Australian National University

  1. Critical Periods During Childhood and Adolescence: A Study of Adult Height Among Immigrant Siblings By van den Berg, Gerard J.; Lundborg, Petter; Nystedt, Paul; Rooth, Dan-Olof
  2. Moving up the ladder ? the impact of migration experience on occupational mobility in Albania By Carletto, Calogero; Kilic, Talip
  3. Exit and save : migration and saving under violence By Grun, Rebekka E.
  4. The American Health System and Immigration: An Institutional Interpretation By Alejandro Portes; Donald Light; Patricia Fernández-Kelly
  5. Temporary Labour Migration and Welfare at the New European Fringe: A Comparison of Five Eastern European Countries By Danzer, Alexander M.; Dietz, Barbara
  6. Migration Competition in Enlarged European Union: A Theoretical Model By P. Giannoccolo
  7. Rural Out-Migration, Income, and Poverty: Are Those Who Move Truly Better Off? By Marre, Alexander W.
  8. Immigrant Characteristics, the IT Bust, and Their Effect on Entry Earnings of Immigrants By Picot, Garnett; Hou, Feng
  9. Self-Selection and Earnings of Emigrants from a Welfare State By Poutvaara, Panu; Munk, Martin D.; Junge, Martin
  10. Institutional Ambivalence and Permanently Failing Health Care: Access by Immigrants and the Categorically Unequal in the Nation and New Jersey By Donald Light
  11. Economic Analysis of U.S. Immigration Reforms By Aguiar, Angel; Walmsley, Terrie
  12. What Does Global Expansion of Higher Education Mean for the US? By Richard B. Freeman
  13. International migration, transfers of norms and home country fertility By Beine, Michel; Docquier, Frederic; Schiff, Maurice
  14. Immigration Policy, Remittances, and Growth in the Migrant-Sending Country By Sylvain Dessy; Tiana Rambeloma
  15. What determines the choice of transfer channel for remittances? Evidence from Moldova By Melissa Siegel; Matthias Lücke
  16. Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers and Remittances on Credit Market Outcomes in Rural Nicaragua By Hernandez, Emilio; Sam, Abdoul; Gonzalez-Vega, Claudio; Chen, Joyce
  17. Les caractéristiques des immigrants, l'effondrement de la TI et leur effet sur les gains initiaux des immigrants By Picot, Garnett; Hou, Feng

  1. By: van den Berg, Gerard J. (VU University Amsterdam); Lundborg, Petter (VU University Amsterdam); Nystedt, Paul (Linköping University); Rooth, Dan-Olof (Kalmar University)
    Abstract: We identify the ages that constitute critical periods in children's development towards their adult health status. For this we use data on families migrating into Sweden from countries that are mostly poorer, with less healthy conditions. Long-run health is proxied by adult height. The relation between siblings' ages at migration and their heights after age 18 allows us to estimate the causal effect of conditions at a certain age on adult height. Moreover, we compare siblings born outside and within Sweden. We apply fixed-effect methods to a sample of about 9,000 brothers. We effectively exploit that for siblings the migration occurs simultaneously in calendar time but at different developmental stages (ages). We find important critical periods at ages 5/6 and 9. The effects are stronger in families migrating from poorer countries but weaker if the mother is well-educated.
    Keywords: developmental origins, fetal programming, age, height retardation, adult health, parental education, migration, early-life conditions
    JEL: I10 I12 I18 F22 I20 I30 J10 N30
    Date: 2009–04
  2. By: Carletto, Calogero; Kilic, Talip
    Abstract: The contribution of return migrants to economic development in source countries can be significant. Overseas savings of returnees may lead to improvements in household welfare and provide liquidity for investments in the face of credit market failures. Labor market experience and skills acquired abroad may also lead migrants to find occupations higher in the skill and remuneration spectrum upon return. This study uses the 2005 Albanian Living Standards Measurement Study Survey and estimates the impact of international migration experience on the occupational mobility of return migrants vis a vis working-age Albanian residents that never migrated. Controlling for the non-random nature of international migration and return, the results show that past migration experience increases the likelihood of upward occupational mobility. Exploring the heterogeneity of impact by host country indicates that the positive effect of past migration experience on upward occupational mobility is driven by past migration experience in Italy and countries further a field, while past migration experience in Greece does not exert any significant impact on mobility outcomes. The results, which are consistent across different sample specifications and outcome variables measuring occupational mobility, hint at the link between migration and human/financial capital formation among migrants and foster optimism concerning the positive effect of return migration on economic development. This insight is particularly important since remittances from permanent migrants, which have fueled the impressive growth performance of the country in the recent era, may taper off in the medium to long term with the decline in out-migration and growing global economic woes.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Labor Markets,Voluntary and Involuntary Resettlement,Human Migrations&Resettlements,Debt Markets
    Date: 2009–04–01
  3. By: Grun, Rebekka E.
    Abstract: This paper examines how households trade off migration and savings when subject to exogenous violence. The authors propose that households under violence decide jointly on migration and saving, because a higher asset-stock is more difficult to carry to a new place. When confronted with exogenous violence, households are expected to consider migration, and reduce their assets, both in order to reduce their exposure to violence, and to make migration easier. In some cases, after a migration decision has been taken, savings can increase as a function of violence to ensure a minimum bundle to carry. Empirical evidence from rich Colombian micro-data supports the conceptual framework for violence that carries a displacement threat, such as guerrilla attacks.
    Keywords: Access to Finance,,Economic Theory&Research,Adolescent Health,Youth and Governance
    Date: 2009–04–01
  4. By: Alejandro Portes (Princeton University); Donald Light (University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey); Patricia Fernández-Kelly (Princeton University)
    Abstract: We examine the institutions that comprise the American health system and their relationship to a surging immigrant population. The clash between the system and this human flow originates in the large number of immigrants who are unauthorized, poor, and uninsured and, hence, unable to access a system largely based on ability to pay. Basic concepts from sociological theory are brought to bear on the analysis of this clash and its consequences. Data from a recently completed study of health institutions in three areas of the United States is used as empirical basis to illustrate various aspects of this complex relation. Implications of our results for theory and future health policy are discussed.
    Date: 2009–04
  5. By: Danzer, Alexander M. (Royal Holloway, University of London); Dietz, Barbara (Institute for Eastern European Studies, Regensburg)
    Abstract: This paper investigates patterns and determinants of temporary labour migration in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine after EU enlargement in 2004. Migration incidence, destination choices and migration determinants differ between poorer and better-off countries. Although broadly in line with general results from the migration literature, we observe some peculiarities like the high share of older migrants and a modest role of family obligations in the migration decision process. We find no indication of a brain drain related to temporary migration in sending regions as the educational background of migrants is rather low. Migration is used as household insurance against unemployment and is associated with lower incidence of poverty. This finding remains robust when attempting to reduce the potential omitted variable bias with an instrumental variable approach.
    Keywords: temporary migration, welfare, Eastern Europe, cross-country study
    JEL: F22 J61 I31 P23
    Date: 2009–04
  6. By: P. Giannoccolo
    Date: 2009–04
  7. By: Marre, Alexander W.
    Abstract: Are working-age rural migrants to urban areas really better off? This paper uses data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 1979 to 1997 to answer this question. It builds on literature by Fisher (2005, 2007) on the role of unmeasured characteristics in influencing rural residential choice and economic outcomes. Recursive bivariate probit models of migration and household poverty and two-stage least squares models of migration and household income are estimated for three periods: 1979 to 1985, 1985 to 1991, and 1991 to 1997. The models used in this study suggest that the relationship between rural out-migration and poverty is mixed, while there appears to be no discernable effect of rural out-migration on income in the short-run.
    Keywords: nonmetropolitan-metropolitan migration, rural development, rural poverty, nonmetropolitan poverty, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Labor and Human Capital, R23, I32, J24,
    Date: 2009
  8. By: Picot, Garnett; Hou, Feng
    Abstract: Using administrative data, this paper asks (1) whether the changing characteristics of immigrants, notably the rise in the share with university education and in the "skilled economic" immigrant class, contributed positively to immigrant entry earnings during the 1990s, and (2) whether the entry earnings of immigrants improved after 2000, and if not, why not. We find that, through the 1990s, the rising number of entering immigrants with university degrees and in the skilled economic class did little to improve earnings at the bottom of the earnings distribution (and reduce poverty rates among entering immigrants), but the changes did increase earnings among immigrants at the middle and top of the earnings distribution. The increasing numbers of highly educated at the bottom of the earnings distribution were unable to convert their education and "skilled class" designation to higher earnings: they found themselves with low incomes. These outcomes may be related to language, credentialism, education quality, or supply issues, as discussed in the paper. We find that from 2000 to 2004, the entry earnings of immigrants renewed their slide, but for reasons that differed from the standard explanations of the earlier decline. Much of the fall after 2000 was concentrated among immigrants intending to practice in the information technology (IT) or engineering occupations. This coincided with the IT downturn, which appears to have significantly affected outcomes for these immigrants, particularly the men. Following the significant increase in supply in response to the call for more high-tech workers in the late 1990s, the large numbers of entering immigrants were faced with the IT downturn.
    Keywords: Ethnic diversity and immigration, Labour, Wages, salaries and other earnings, Immigrants and non-permanent residents
    Date: 2009–04–30
  9. By: Poutvaara, Panu (University of Helsinki); Munk, Martin D. (SFI - Danish National Centre for Social Research); Junge, Martin (CEBR, Copenhagen)
    Abstract: Following a seminal contribution by Borjas (1987), a large literature has analyzed how income distribution and redistribution are related to immigration to various rich countries. In this paper, we take a look at the other side of the coin. We analyze emigration from Denmark, which is one of the richest and most redistributive European Welfare States. Using comprehensive register data on full population and a unique new representative survey, we analyze whether Danes with relatively high earnings ability favor countries with more unequal income distribution and lower taxes, like the United States.
    Keywords: migration, emigration, redistribution, brain drain, education
    JEL: F22 J61 H2
    Date: 2009–04
  10. By: Donald Light (University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey)
    Abstract: Immigrants seeking health care, especially those without some kind of public or private insurance, highlight the barriers to access that arose as intended or unintended barriers of how dominant stakeholders shaped American medicine. This paper draws on a new study of those consequences for immigrants and focuses on efforts by one state to increase access. Such efforts are framed and constrained by past institutional developments and the layered actions of federal, state, and sometimes county or city actions. We develop a conceptual framework based on Merton & Barber, Meyer & Zucker, Tilly, and Massey that is useful for analyzing health care and other human service programs. Categorical inequalities underlie institutional ambivalence in many programs and policies, and in efforts to reduce or increase them. These inequalities and ambivalence contribute to American health care and health insurance being permanently failing systems driven by provider and insurer moral hazard that never collapse but run inefficiently, ineffectively, and inequitably.
    Date: 2009–04
  11. By: Aguiar, Angel; Walmsley, Terrie
    Abstract: In January 2004, President George Bush proposed the creation of a temporary worker program to allow more migrant workers to enter the US legally. This new temporary worker program would be open to undocumented workers in the US, as well as to prospective migrants currently residing abroad. The program would temporarily allow immigrants to fill jobs that, according to employers, would otherwise go unfilled at the current wage. The US Congress vetoed the presidential proposal, however, and requested a stricter enforcement of immigration law and the consequent deportation of undocumented immigrants. This study analyzes the economic effects of these immigration reforms on the US economy using an applied global general equilibrium model of migration. In this paper the global trade and migration model (GMig2) developed by Walmsley, Winters and Ahmed (2007) is modified to include a third labor category â undocumented unskilled â to reflect estimates of undocumented workers residing in the United States. The model is then used to analyze the impacts of two policy scenarios on the US economy: first, the deportation of undocumented workers currently residing in the US; and second, the legalization of undocumented agricultural workers. The first scenario is implemented through a decline in the number of undocumented workers residing in the US to zero, and a corresponding increase in the number of workers in Mexico. The second scenario is achieved by allowing undocumented workers to obtain legal status, thereby increasing their wages and productivity. We find that the deportation of undocumented workers causes a considerable loss to the US economy in terms of real GDP. Legalization of Mexican undocumented immigrants, on the other hand, is found to increase US real GDP. Hence the paper demonstrates there are clear advantages to the US economy of implementing proposals that both allow migrant workers to remain in the United States and increase the workers ability to participate freely in the US labor force as legal residents.
    Keywords: US Undocumented Workers, Applied General Equilibrium, Political Economy,
    Date: 2009
  12. By: Richard B. Freeman
    Abstract: This study documents the rapid spread of higher education around the world and the consequent reduced share of the US in the world's university students and graduates. It shows that the proportion of young persons who go to college has risen in many advanced countries to exceed that in the US while human capital leapfrogging in the huge populous developing countries has produced massive increases in their university educated work forces. One result of the expansion of higher education overseas is that the US has come to rely extensively on the immigration of highly educated persons to maintain a lead position in science and technology. International students make up roughly half of university graduate immigrants to the US, which makes policies toward those students a key determinant in the country’s success in attracting immigrant talent.
    JEL: J01 J2 J24
    Date: 2009–05
  13. By: Beine, Michel; Docquier, Frederic; Schiff, Maurice
    Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between international migration and source country fertility. The impact of international migration on source country fertility may have a number of causes, including a transfer of destination countries'fertility norms and an incentive to acquire more education. It provides provide a rigorous test of the diffusion on of fertility norms using original and detailed data on migration. The results provide evidence of a significant transfer of fertility norms from migrants to their country of origin: a one percent decrease in the fertility norm to which migrants are exposed reduces home country fertility by about 0.3 percent for origin countries.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Gender and Social Development,Reproductive Health,Human Migrations&Resettlements,Anthropology
    Date: 2009–05–01
  14. By: Sylvain Dessy; Tiana Rambeloma
    Abstract: As evidence accumulates to expose the ineffectiveness of foreign aid, there are increasing calls for rich countries to open up their immigration policies so as to enable migrants' remittances to substitute for foreign aid as a growth-stimulant in poor, migrant-sending countries. In this paper, we use an endogenous growth model to argue that the growth effects of transnational migration and remittances are entirely mediated by the human capital profile of emigrants, as determined by immigration policy at the destination country. Quantitatively, we find that when immigration policy at the destination country provokes a "brain drain", growth is negatively impacted in the sending country despite remittances. The reverse is true when immigration policy targets workers with low levels of human capital.
    Keywords: Remittances, migration, growth, education, general equilibrium, child labor
    JEL: J13 J61 O11 O15 O40
    Date: 2009
  15. By: Melissa Siegel; Matthias Lücke
    Abstract: We estimate a multinomial logit model to explain the choice of transfer channel (formal services vs. informal operators or personal transfers) by 1139 pairs of migrants and recipients of remittances in Moldova in 2006. Explanatory variables include socioeconomic characteristics of the migrant and other household members, the pattern of migration (destination country, legal status, duration) and financial information (average amount and frequency of payments). Key reasons not to use a formal transfer channel include an emphasis on low transfer cost (rather than speed, convenience, or security), a migrant’s irregular legal status in the host country, and short migration spells
    Keywords: migration, remittances, Moldova, transfer channel, money transfer operator, financial sector development
    JEL: F22 F24 O16
    Date: 2009–04
  16. By: Hernandez, Emilio; Sam, Abdoul; Gonzalez-Vega, Claudio; Chen, Joyce
    Abstract: The impact of public and private transfers on credit markets has not been sufficiently studied and understanding any spill over effects caused by these transfers may be useful for policy makers. This paper estimates the impact of Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) and remittances received by poor households in rural Nicaragua on their decision to request a loan. We find that, on average, CCTs did not affect the request of credit while remittances increased it, controlling for potential endogeneity. We argue the reduction in income risk provided by remittances changes borrowersâ expected marginal returns to a loan and/or their creditworthiness, as perceived by lenders. The successful enforcement of the use of CCTs on long-term investments seems to have avoided externalities on the use of short-term credit these households have access to and their creditworthiness.
    Keywords: International Development, D14, F22, O15,
    Date: 2009
  17. By: Picot, Garnett; Hou, Feng
    Abstract: En fondant notre recherche sur des données administratives, nous nous demandons 1) si l'évolution des caractéristiques des immigrants, notamment l'augmentation de la proportion d'immigrants ayant un niveau de scolarité universitaire et de celle des immigrants dans la catégorie des « travailleurs qualifiés de l'immigration économique », ont contribué favorablement à l'augmentation des gains initiaux des immigrants dans les années 1990 et 2) si les gains initiaux des immigrants se sont améliorés après 2000 et, dans la négative, pourquoi. Nous avons constaté qu'au cours des années 1990, le nombre croissant de nouveaux immigrants possédant un diplôme universitaire et d'immigrants dans la catégorie des travailleurs qualifiés de l'immigration économique n'a guère fait augmenter les gains dans la tranche inférieure de la répartition des gains (et diminuer les taux de pauvreté chez les nouveaux immigrants), mais que cette évolution a effectivement fait augmenter les gains des immigrants dans la tranche supérieure et dans celle du milieu de la répartition des gains. Les personnes très instruites de plus en plus nombreuses dans la tranche inférieure de la répartition des gains n'ont pu mettre à profit leur niveau de scolarité et leur appartenance à la catégorie des « travailleurs qualifiés » pour toucher des revenus plus élevés, de sorte qu'elles n'ont touché que de faibles revenus. Ces résultats peuvent être liés à la langue, à la diplômanie, à la qualité de l'éducation, ou à des questions d'offre, ce dont il est question dans le document. Nous constatons que les gains initiaux des immigrants ont diminué de nouveau de 2000 &agr
    Keywords: Diversité ethnique et immigration, Travail, Salaires, traitements et autres gains, Immigrants et résidents non permanents au Canada
    Date: 2009–04–30

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