nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2009‒10‒31
twelve papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
Australian National University

  1. Are skilled women more migratory than skilled men? By FrŽdŽric DOCQUIER; Abdeslam MARFOUK; Sara SALOMONE; Khalid,SEKKAT
  2. Assortative Mating and Divorce: Evidence from Austrian Register Data By Wolfgang Frimmel; Martin Halla; Rudolf Winter-Ebmer
  3. Labour Market Status and Migration Dynamics By Bijwaard, G.E.
  4. Migration of the Highly Skilled: Can Europe catch up with the US? By Lydia Mechtenberg; Roland Strausz
  5. Breakthrough Inventions and Migrating Clusters of Innovation By William R. Kerr
  6. Brain Drain and Brain Return: Theory and Application to Eastern-Western Europe By Karin Mayr; Giovanni Peri
  7. Documenting the brain drain of Ç la crme de la crme È: Three case-studies on international migration at the upper tail of the education distribution By FrŽdŽric DOCQUIER; Hillel RAPOPORT
  8. Labor-market exposure as a determinant of attitudes toward immigration By Francesc Ortega; Javier G. Polavieja
  9. Private vs. Public Sector : Discrimination against Second-Generation Immigrants in France By Clémence Berson
  10. An Incentive Mechanism to Break the Low-skill Immigration Deadlock By David de la CROIX; FrŽdŽric DOCQUIER
  11. Changes in Swedish Labour Immigration Policy: A Slight Revolution? By Cerna, Lucie
  12. Determinants and Macroeconomic Impact of Remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa By Kyung-woo Lee; Markus Haacker; Raju Singh

    Abstract: This paper empirically studies emigration patterns of skilled males and females. In the most relevant model accounting for interdependencies between women and menÕs decisions, we derive the gendered responses to traditional push factors. Females and males do not respond with the same intensity to the traditional determinants of labor mobility and gender-specific characteristics of the population at origin. Moreover, being other factors equal, the female willingness to follow the spouse seems to be much more pronounced with respect to the male one. From a quantitative perspective, our model reveals that skilled women are not more migratory than skilled men internationally, thus rejecting the existence of a genetic or social gender gap in international skilled migration.
    Date: 2009–08–17
  2. By: Wolfgang Frimmel; Martin Halla; Rudolf Winter-Ebmer
    Abstract: This paper documents that changes in assortative mating patterns over the last four decades along the dimensions of age, ethnicity and religion are not responsible for the increasing marital instability in Austria. Quite the contrary, without the rise in the age at marriage, divorce rates would be considerably higher. Immigration and secularization, and the resulting supply of spouses with diverse ethnicity and religious denominations had no overall effect on divorce rates. Countervailing effects – in line with theoretical predictions – offset each other. The rise in the incidence in divorce is most probably caused by changing social norms.
    Keywords: Assortative mating, divorce, marital instability, immigration
    JEL: J12 J11 J15 Z12 D1 R2
    Date: 2009–10
  3. By: Bijwaard, G.E. (Erasmus Econometric Institute)
    Abstract: In this empirical paper we assess how labour market transitions and out- and repeat migration of immigrants are interrelated. We estimate a multi-state multiple spell competing risks model with four states: employed, unemployed receiving benefits, out-of-the-labour market (no benefits) and abroad. We discuss one-step ahead transitions from all four states and the transition probability, including all intermediate transitions, from employment. Based on the estimated parameters we simulate the labour-migration dynamics for a synthetic cohort to derive relevant economic indicators, e.g. the probability of experiencing an unemployment spell. For the analysis we use data on recent labour immigrants to The Netherlands, which implies that all migrants are (self)-employed at the time of arrival. We find that many migrants leave the country after a period of no-income. Employment characteristics and the country of origin play an important role in explaining the dynamics. The microsimulations of synthetic cohorts reveal that many migrants experience unemployment spells, but ten years after arrival only a few are unemployed. They also indicate that the Credit Crunch will not only increase the unemployment among migrants but also departure from the country. An increase in the number of migrants from the EU accession countries will lead to more dynamics. We do not expect that the recent simplification of the entry of high income migrants will have a lasting effect, as many of those migrants leave fast.
    Keywords: migration dynamics;labour market transitions;competing risks;immigrant assimilation
    Date: 2009–10–19
  4. By: Lydia Mechtenberg; Roland Strausz
    Abstract: We develop a model to analyze the determinants and effects of an endogenous imperfect transferability of human capital on natives and immigrants. The model reveals that high migration flows and high skill-transferability are mutually interdependent. Moreover, we show that high mobility within a Federation is necessary to attract highly skilled immigrants into the Federation. We study in how far and in what way the European public policy behind the Bologna and the Lisbon Process can contribute to higher mobility in Europe.
    Keywords: human capital, migration, transferability, public policy
    JEL: D61 H77 I28
    Date: 2009–10
  5. By: William R. Kerr
    Abstract: We investigate the speed at which clusters of invention for a technology migrate spatially following breakthrough inventions. We identify breakthrough inventions as the top one percent of US inventions for a technology during 1975-1984 in terms of subsequent citations. Patenting growth is significantly higher in cities and technologies where breakthrough inventions occur after 1984 relative to peer locations that do not experience breakthrough inventions. This growth differential in turn depends on the mobility of the technology's labor force, which we model through the extent that technologies depend upon immigrant scientists and engineers. Spatial adjustments are faster for technologies that depend heavily on immigrant inventors. The results qualitatively confirm the mechanism of industry migration proposed in models like Duranton (2007).
    JEL: F2 J4 J6 O3 O4 R1 R3
    Date: 2009–10
  6. By: Karin Mayr; Giovanni Peri (Department of Economics, University of California, Davis, USA)
    Abstract: Recent empirical evidence seems to show that temporary migration is a widespread phenomenon, espe- cially among highly skilled workers who return to their countries of origin when these begin to grow. This paper develops a simple, tractable overlapping generations model that provides a rationale for return migra- tion and predicts who will migrate and who returns among agents with heterogeneous abilities. The model also incorporates the interaction between the migration decision and schooling: the possibility of migrating, albeit temporarily, to a country with high returns to skills produces positive schooling incentive effects. We use parameter values from the literature and data on return migration to simulate the model for the Eastern-Western European case. We then quantify the effects that increased openness (to migrants) would have on human capital and wages in Eastern Europe. We find that, for plausible values of the parameters, the possibility of return migration combined with the education incentive channel reverses the brain drain into a significant brain gain for Eastern Europe.
    Keywords: Skilled Migration, Return Migration, Returns to Education, Eastern-Western Europe
    JEL: F22 J61 O15
    Date: 2009–10
  7. By: FrŽdŽric DOCQUIER (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), IZA and CReAM); Hillel RAPOPORT (Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University, EQUIPPE, UniversitŽ de Lille II, CReAM and CEPREMAP)
    Abstract: Most of the recent literature on the effects of the brain drain on source countries consists of theoretical papers and cross-country empirical studies. In this paper we complement the literature through three case studies on very different regional and professional contexts: the African medical brain drain, the exodus of European researchers to the United States, and the contribution of the Indian diaspora to the rise of the IT sector in India. While the three case studies concern the very upper tail of the skill and education distribution, their effects of source countries are contrasted: clearly negative in the case of the exodus of European researchers, clearly positive in the case of the Indian diasporaÕs contribution to putting India on the IT global map, and mixed in the case of the medical brain drain out of Africa.
    Keywords: Brain drain, international migration, African medical brain drain, European brain drain, Indian diaspora
    JEL: F22 J24 O15
    Date: 2009–07–01
  8. By: Francesc Ortega (Universitat Pompeu Fabra); Javier G. Polavieja (IMDEA Ciencias Sociales)
    Abstract: This paper re-examines the role of labor-market competition as a determinant of attitudes toward immigration. We claim two main contributions. First, we use more sophisticated measures of the degree of exposure to competition from immigrants than previously done. Specifically, we focus on the protection derived from investments in job-specific human capital and from specialization in communication-intensive jobs, in addition to formal education. Second, we explicitly account for the potential endogeneity arising from job search. Methodologically, we estimate, by instrumental variables, an econometric model that allows for heterogeneity at the individual, regional, and country level. Drawing on the 2004 European Social Survey, we obtain three main results. First, our estimates show that individuals that are currently employed in less exposed jobs are relatively more pro-immigration. This is true for both our new measures of exposure. Second, we show that the protection granted by job-specific human capital is clearly distinct from the protection granted by formal education. Yet the positive effect of education on pro-immigration attitudes is greatly reduced when we control for the degree of communication intensity of respondents\' occupations. Third, OLS estimates are biased in a direction that suggests that natives respond to immigration by switching to less exposed jobs. The latter finding provides indirect support for the endogenous job specialization hypothesis postulated by Peri and Sparber (2009).
    Keywords: immigration attitudes; labor market; job-specific human capital; communication skills; international migration
    JEL: F1 F22 J61 J31 R13
    Date: 2009–10–21
  9. By: Clémence Berson (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)
    Abstract: The assimilation of immigrants and their children is a burning issue in France. Governments build a large part of their policies on the labor market. The public sector is reputed to integrate minorities better because of its entrance exams and pay-scales. In this paper, a comparison of the public and private sectors shows that second-generation immigrants are not treated equally. Those of African descent are discriminated against in both sectors even though selection issues are controlled for, whereas the wages of those of South European origin are similar to those of the French.
    Keywords: Discrimination, wage gap, public and private sectors, France.
    Date: 2009–09
  10. By: David de la CROIX (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and CORE); FrŽdŽric DOCQUIER (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and National Fund for Scientific Research (Belgium))
    Abstract: Although movements of capital, goods and services are growing in importance, workers movements are impeded by restrictive policies in rich countries. Such regulations carry substantial economic costs for developing countries, and prevent global inequality from declining. Even if rich countries are averse to global inequality, a single country lacks incentives to welcome additional migrants as it would bear the costs alone while the benefits accrue to all rich states. Aversion to global inequality confers a public good nature to the South-North migration of low-skill workers. We propose an alternative allocation of labor maximizing global welfare subject to the constraints that the rich countries are at least as well off as in the current ÒnationalistÓ (or ÒNashionalistÓ) situation. This Òno regretÓ allocation can be decentralized by a tax-subsidy scheme which makes people internalize the fact that as soon as a rich country welcomes an additional migrant, global inequalities are reduced, and everybody in the rich world is better off too. Our model is calibrated using statistics on immigration, working-age population and output. We simulate the proposed scheme on different sets of rich countries.
    Keywords: Public Good, Inequality Aversion, Immigration policy
    JEL: F22 D58 D6 D7
    Date: 2009–08–01
  11. By: Cerna, Lucie (Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS)
    Abstract: This paper examines changes in Swedish labour immigration policy from early 2000s, but particular attention is paid to recent changes. The new Immigration Law of 2008 liberalised immigration policy and made it more employer-driven. These changes are called by some as ‘slight revolution’. The paper analyses the preferences of three main actors (native high-skilled labour, native low-skilled labour and capital), the coalitions built between them and the institutional constraints in order to explain labour immigration changes. It draws on the examination of media coverage, elite interviews, and labour relations and political representation literature. The paper also provides a first evaluation of the new immigration policy.
    Keywords: Labour immigration; labour market relations; political economy; public policy; Sweden
    JEL: F50 J50 J60
    Date: 2009–10–28
  12. By: Kyung-woo Lee; Markus Haacker; Raju Singh
    Abstract: The paper investigates the determinants and the macroeconomic role of remittances in sub-Saharan Africa, assembling the most comprehensive dataset available so far on remittances in the region and incorporating data on the diaspora. It finds that remittances are larger for countries with a larger diaspora or when the diaspora is located in wealthier countries, and that they behave countercyclically, consistent with a role as a shock absorber. Although the effect of remittances in growth regressions is negative, countries with well functioning domestic institutions seem nevertheless to be better at unlocking the potential for remittances to contribute to faster economic growth.
    Keywords: Cross country analysis , Developing countries , Economic growth , Economic models , Sub-Saharan Africa , Workers remittances ,
    Date: 2009–10–02

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