nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2009‒08‒30
six papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
Australian National University

  1. The Occupations and Human Capital of U.S. Immigrants By Todd Schoellman
  2. Who migrates overseas and is it worth their while ? an assessment of household survey data from Bangladesh By Sharma, Manohar; Zaman, Hassan
  3. Internal Migration and Income Inequality in China: Evidence from Village Panel Data By Ha, Wei; Yi, Junjian; Zhang, Junsen
  4. The role of the housing market in the migration response to employment shocks By Jeffrey Zabel
  5. Smart places, getting smarter: facts about the young professional population in New England states By Heather Brome
  6. Issues Affecting the Movement of Rural Labour in Myanmar: Rakhine Case Study By Okamoto, Ikuko

  1. By: Todd Schoellman
    Abstract: This paper estimates the multi-dimensional human capital endowments of im¬migrants by characterizing their occupational decisions. This approach allows for estimation of physical skill and cognitive ability endowments, which are difficult to measure directly. Estimation implies that immigrants as a whole are abundant in cognitive ability and scarce in experience/training and communication skills. Counterfactual estimates of the wage impacts of immigration are skewed: the largest gain from preventing immigration is 3.2% higher wages, but the largest loss is 0.3% lower wages. Crowding of immigrants into select occupations plays a minor role in explain¬ing these impacts; occupations’ skill attributes explain the bulk.
    Keywords: Human Capital, Migration.
    JEL: F22 J24
    Date: 2009–08–19
  2. By: Sharma, Manohar; Zaman, Hassan
    Abstract: The paper assesses the costs and household level benefits of migrating overseas from Bangladesh. The authors survey households who have had overseas migrants to assess their characteristics compared to non-migrants. They also compute various types of migration and remittance related transaction costs and discuss the channels by which overseas migration is financed, remittances sent and the constraints faced by the poorest. Using the Propensity Score Matching method, the paper finds that overseas migration conveys substantial benefits to families as measured by household consumption, use of modern agricultural inputs, and level of household savings. The authors also offer some possible policy directions to strengthen the returns from migration as well as reduce some of the costs.
    Keywords: Population Policies,Access to Finance,Remittances,Banks&Banking Reform,Debt Markets
    Date: 2009–08–01
  3. By: Ha, Wei; Yi, Junjian; Zhang, Junsen
    Abstract: Existing studies on the impact of migration on income inequality at sending communities suffer from severe methodology defects and data limitations. This paper analyzes the impact of rural-to-urban migration on inequality using a newly constructed panel dataset for around 100 villages over a ten-year period from 1997 to 2006 in China. To our best knowledge, this is the first paper that examines the dynamic aspects of migration and income inequality employing a dynamic panel data analysis. Unlike earlier studies focusing exclusively on remittances, our data include the total labor earnings of migrants in destination areas. Furthermore, we look at the gender dimension of the impact of migration on wage inequality within the sending communities. Since income inequality is time-persisting, we use a system GMM framework to control for the lagged income inequality in estimating the effect of emigration on income inequality in the sending villages. At the same time, contemporary emigration is validly instrumented in the GMM framework because of the unobserved time-varying community shock that correlates with emigration and income inequality, as well as with the potential reverse causality from income inequality to emigration. We found a Kuznets (inverse U-shaped) pattern between migration and income inequality in the sending communities. Specifically, contemporary emigration increases income inequality, while lagged emigration has strong income inequality-reducing effect in the sending villages. A 50-percent increase in the lagged emigration rate translates into one-sixth to one-seventh standard deviation reduction in inequality. Contemporary emigration has slightly smaller effects in raising the income inequality within villages. These effects are robust to the different specifications and different measures of inequality. More interestingly, the estimated relationship between emigration and the gender wage gap also has an inverse U-shaped pattern. Emigration tends to increase the gender wage gap initially, and then tends to decrease it in the sending villages.
    Keywords: Internal Migration; Inequality; System GMM.
    JEL: D31 O15 J61 C33
    Date: 2009–06–01
  4. By: Jeffrey Zabel
    Abstract: The United States is known for the ability of its residents to move to where the jobs are, and this has helped the nation maintain its position as the world’s top economy. Households’ decisions to move depend not only on job prospects but also on the relative cost of housing. I investigate how the housing market affects the flow of workers across cities. This occurs through at least two channels: the relative mobility of homeowners versus renters, and the relative cost of housing across markets. I use homeownership rates to measure the former, and use an index that measures house prices across metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs); the price elasticity of housing supply; and the growth rate of house prices to capture the latter. ; To show how variation in these factors affects cross-city migration, I estimate a VAR model of migration, employment, wages, house prices, and new housing supply using data from 277 U.S. MSAs for 1990–2006. The impulse response functions based on employment supply and demand shocks show substantial variation when evaluated at different values of the homeownership rate, the price elasticity of housing supply, relative housing prices, and their growth rates. I also allow for spillover effects in the model that reflect the impact of a labor demand shock in the nearest city.
    Keywords: Migration, Internal - United States ; Housing - Prices ; Labor mobility
    Date: 2009
  5. By: Heather Brome
    Abstract: Each of the New England states is wrestling with how to retain a skilled workforce and sustain economic competitiveness while facing an aging population. In particular, each state fears that it is losing young, educated workers to other states and regions. This paper builds on earlier research about trends in the region’s young professionals: it looks at the supply of young professionals in each state to better understand trends in that population. The analysis reveals that, while there are some differences between the New England states, all are facing slow growth or no growth in its population of young professionals.
    Keywords: College graduates - New England ; Migration, Internal ; Labor mobility
    Date: 2009
  6. By: Okamoto, Ikuko
    Abstract: This paper presents issues affecting the movement of rural labour in Myanmar, by examining the background, purpose and earned income of labourers migrating to fishing villages in southern Rakhine. A broad range of socioeconomic classes, from poor to rich, farmers to fishermen, is migrating from broader areas to specific labour-intensive fishing subsectors, such as anchovy fishing. These labourers are a mixed group of people whose motives lie either in supplementing their household income or accumulating capital for further expansion of their economic activities. The concentration of migrating labourers with different objectives in this particular unstable, unskilled employment opportunity suggests an insufficiently developed domestic labour market in rural Myanmar. There is a pressing need to create stable labour-intensive industries to meet this demand.
    Keywords: Migration, Labour, Fishery, Migrant labor, Labor market
    JEL: J61 R23
    Date: 2009–07

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