nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2012‒10‒06
fourteen papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
Australian National University

  1. Does climate change foster emigration from less developed countries? Evidence from bilateral data By Francesco Nicolli; Giulia Bettin
  2. Who Leaves and When? - Selective Outmigration of Immigrants from Germany By Torben Kuhlenkasper; Max Friedrich Steinhardt
  3. Why Are Educated and Risk-Loving Persons More Mobile Across Regions? By Bauernschuster, Stefan; Falck, Oliver; Heblich, Stephan; Suedekum, Jens
  4. The Impact of Divorce on Return-Migration of Family Migrants By Bijwaard, Govert; van Doeselaar, Stijn
  5. Human Trafficking, a Shadow of Migration: Evidence from Germany By Seo-Young Cho
  6. Do family ties with those left behind intensify or weaken migrants’ assimilation? By Stark, Oded; Dorn, Agnieszka
  7. Miserable Migrants? Natural Experiment Evidence on International Migration and Objective and Subjective Well-Being By Stillman, Steven; Gibson, John; McKenzie, David; Rohorua, Halahingano
  8. In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants and its Impact on College Enrollment, Tuition Costs, Student Financial Aid, and Indebtedness By Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina; Sparber, Chad
  9. Russian Jewish Immigrants in the United States: The Adjustment of their English Language Proficiency and Earnings in the American Community Survey By Chiswick, Barry R.; Larsen, Nicholas
  10. Human Capital Quality and the Immigrant Wage Gap By Serge Coulombe; Gilles Grenier; Serge Nadeau
  11. Migrants, Ethnicity and the Welfare State By Epstein, Gil S.
  12. Immigrants' rights and benefits. A public opinion analysis for Spain By Robert Duval-Hernandez; Ferran Martinez i Coma
  13. Access to Public Schools and the Education of Migrant Children in China By Chen, Yuanyuan; Feng, Shuaizhang
  14. Bildung als Mittel sozialen Aufstiegs? Zum Zusammenhang von Bevölkerungsentwicklung und Bildungsbeteiligung von Migranten By Alexandra Schwarz; Horst Weishaupt

  1. By: Francesco Nicolli; Giulia Bettin
    Abstract: The evolution of worldwide climatic conditions doubtless represents one of the major and uncertain challenges in the near future. The adaptation strategies might differ a lot according to local institutional, political and financial constraints but migration is certainly one of the main possibilities individuals have to escape from the most affected regions. Regional – maybe temporary - small-scale movements might be the first, immediate response but international mobility as well is likely to take place in response to climatic variations. Empirical literature dealing with the effects of climate change on international migration is still rather scarce. In particular, it focuses on international migration to developed countries as a consequence of weather-related natural disasters while alternative measures for climate change based on deviations in temperature and rainfall from the long term means have been used only in a few studies. Building on this little empirical evidence, we collect ten-year bilateral data on international migration from 1960 to 2000 and look simultaneously at both anomalies in precipitations and temperature and weather-related natural disaster as determinants of international movements. The use of bilateral data let us consider not only long-distance migration (typically from low income to developed countries) but also short-distance regional movements. International migration is found to be significantly affected by different climate change proxies in the overall sample of countries, but results are confirmed also when focusing on specific geographical areas like Africa or Asia.
    Keywords: international migration; climate change; natural disasters
    JEL: F22 Q54
    Date: 2012–06–15
  2. By: Torben Kuhlenkasper; Max Friedrich Steinhardt
    Abstract: This paper provides new evidence on the outmigration behaviour of foreign-born immigrants. Our analysis is based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel covering the period 1984 to 2010. A unique feature of our paper is the use of new data from panel-drop out studies, which allows us to identify outmigration. As statistical technique, we employ penalized spline smoothing in the context of a Poisson-type Generalized Additive Mixed Model (GAMM), which enables us to incorporate bivariate interaction effects. For Non-Turkish immigrants we find a u-shaped pattern between human capital endowment and outmigration. For Turkish immigrants, outmigration is characterized by a positive selfselection with respect to skill intensifying the initial negative selection process. In addition to this, family characteristics have strong effects on emigration decisions. Finally, our results highlight substantial variation in outmigration behaviour during the life cycle.
    Keywords: Emigration, Self-selection, German Socio-Economic Panel, Generalized Additive Mixed Models
    JEL: C14 C51 F22 J61
    Date: 2012–09–10
  3. By: Bauernschuster, Stefan (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Falck, Oliver (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Heblich, Stephan (University of Stirling); Suedekum, Jens (University of Duisburg-Essen)
    Abstract: Why are better educated and more risk-friendly persons more mobile across regions? To answer this question, we use micro data on internal migrants from the German Socio- Economic Panel (SOEP) 2000-2006 and merge this information with a unique proxy for region-pair-specific cultural distances across German regions constructed from historical local dialect patterns. Our findings indicate that risk-loving and skilled people are more mobile over longer distances because they are more willing to cross cultural boundaries and move to regions that are culturally different from their homes. Other types of distance-related migration costs cannot explain the lower distance sensitivity of educated and risk-loving individuals.
    Keywords: migration, culture, distance, human capital, risk attitudes
    JEL: J61 R23 D81
    Date: 2012–09
  4. By: Bijwaard, Govert (NIDI - Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute); van Doeselaar, Stijn (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: Many migrants have non-labour motives to migrate and they differ substantially in their migration behaviour. Family migrants main migration motive is to join their future spouse. Thus, when their relation breaks down this influences their return decision. Using administrative panel data on the entire population of recent family immigrants to The Netherlands, we estimate the effect of a divorce on the hazard of leaving The Netherlands using the "timing-of-events" model. The model allows for correlated unobserved heterogeneity across the migration and the divorce processes. The family migrants are divided into three groups based on the Human Development Index (HDI) of their country of birth. We find that divorce has a large impact on the return of family migrants from less developed countries and less on the return of family migrants from developed countries. Young migrants with low income are influenced most by a divorce. We find some evidence of marriage for convenience for migrants from less developed countries. The impacts are quantified by graphing the impact of the timing of divorce on the return probability.
    Keywords: temporary migration, timing of events method, marital status dynamics
    JEL: J12 F22 C41
    Date: 2012–09
  5. By: Seo-Young Cho
    Abstract: This paper empirically analyzes the causal relationship between migration and human trafficking inflows into Germany during the period between 2001 and 2010. My results suggest that migrant networks, measured by migrant stocks from a specific source country, increase the illicit, exploitative form of migration - human trafficking - from that respective country. However, the network effect varies across different income levels of source countries. The significant, positive effect of migrant networks decreases as the income level increases, and furthermore the effect is insignificant for high income countries.
    Keywords: Human trafficking, Migration, Network effects
    JEL: F22 J23 J61
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Stark, Oded; Dorn, Agnieszka
    Abstract: Strong ties with the home country and with the host country can coexist. An altruistic migrant who sends remittances to his family back home assimilates more the more altruistic he is, and also more than a non-remitting migrant.
    Keywords: Assimilation of migrants, Acculturation identity, Links with the home country, Altruism, Remittances, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, Labor and Human Capital, D01, D13, D64, F22, F24,
    Date: 2012–09
  7. By: Stillman, Steven (University of Otago); Gibson, John (University of Waikato); McKenzie, David (World Bank); Rohorua, Halahingano (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: Over 200 million people worldwide live outside their country of birth and typically experience large gains in material well-being by moving to where incomes are higher. But effects of migration on subjective well-being are less clear, with some studies suggesting that migrants are miserable in their new locations. Observational studies are potentially biased by the self-selection of migrants so a natural experiment is used to compare successful and unsuccessful applicants to a migration lottery in order to experimentally estimate the impact of migration on objective and subjective well-being. The results show that international migration brings large improvements in objective well-being, in terms of incomes and expenditures. Impacts on subjective well-being are complex, with mental health improving but happiness declining, self-rated welfare rising if viewed retrospectively but static if viewed experimentally, self-rated social respect rising retrospectively but falling experimentally and subjective income adequacy rising. We further show that these changes would not be predicted from cross-sectional regressions on the correlates of subjective well-being in either Tonga or New Zealand. More broadly, our results highlight the difficulties of measuring changes in subjective well-being when reference frames change, as likely occurs with migration.
    Keywords: immigration, lottery, natural experiment, subjective well-being, Tonga, Pacific Islands
    JEL: I31 J61
    Date: 2012–09
  8. By: Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina (San Diego State University, California); Sparber, Chad (Colgate University)
    Abstract: The 1996 Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act barred states from giving unlawful residents postsecondary education benefits that states do not offer to U.S. citizens. In contrast to this federal law, several states have passed legislation explicitly allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates. We use a difference-in-difference estimation methodology to assess intended and unintended consequences of this tuition policy. First, we find evidence consistent with past studies that postsecondary enrollment rates of Hispanic non-citizens have increased in treatment states relative to control states without negatively impacting the enrollment rates of native-born Americans. Second, state policies benefiting undocumented immigrants have not increased tuition and fees at comprehensive and community colleges attended by the vast majority of students, though rates have risen at flagship universities. Finally, despite some weak association with increased indebtedness among Hispanic natives, resident tuition subsidies for undocumented immigrants do not appear to have reduced financial aid or increased indebtedness for other demographic groups.
    Keywords: immigration, college tuition, DREAM Act
    JEL: F22 J15 I23 I28
    Date: 2012–09
  9. By: Chiswick, Barry R. (George Washington University); Larsen, Nicholas (University of Illinois at Chicago)
    Abstract: Compared to other immigrants to the United States, recent Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union have achieved high levels of English language proficiency and earnings. They experience disadvantages in both dimensions at arrival, but because of steeper improvements with duration in the United States, they reach parity or surpass the English proficiency and earnings of other immigrants. This pattern is seen in the most recent data, the American Community Survey, 2005 to 2009, which is studied here, but also in earlier censuses (1980-2000). The Russian Jews, whether male or female, have higher levels of schooling and English proficiency. Moreover, they appear to secure greater earnings payoffs in the US labor market from their schooling, their labor market experience in the US, and their proficiency in English. What is perhaps remarkable is that the Russian Jewish immigrants from the late 19th and early 20th centuries (1881 to 1920's) also experienced high levels of human capital accumulation and economic success (measured by earnings or occupational attainment). And their US-born children achieved even greater successes compared to other native-born children. This is not emerging from a highly selective immigrant population. The Russian Jewish migration is a mass migration influenced, in part, by refugee motivations. This leads to the obvious but still unanswered question: What is it about the Jews of the Former Russian Empire/Soviet Union that has resulted in their high levels of success in the United States over the past 25 years?
    Keywords: Soviet Jews, immigrants, earnings, schooling, English language, proficiency, American Community Survey
    JEL: F22 J61 J31 J24
    Date: 2012–09
  10. By: Serge Coulombe (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, 120 University St., Ottawa,Ontario); Gilles Grenier (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, 120 University St., Ottawa,Ontario); Serge Nadeau (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, 120 University St., Ottawa,Ontario)
    Abstract: We propose a new methodology for analyzing determinants of the wage gap between immigrants and natives. A Mincerian regression framework is extended to include GDP per capita in an immigrant’s country of birth as a proxy for the quality of education and work experience acquired in that country. In this regard, a central finding is that Canadian immigrants’ returns to schooling and work experience significantly increase with the GDP per capita of their country of birth. The contribution of quality of schooling and work experience to the immigrant wage gap is also examined. It is shown that lower human capital quality completely negates the endowment advantage that immigrants have in the areas of schooling and work experience, so that this factor is key to understanding why they earn less than Canadian natives. Since data on GDP per capita are available for most countries in the world over long periods of time, the proposed methodology can be applied to analyze immigrant wage gaps for a large set of countries for which common statistics on natives and immigrants are available.
    Keywords: Wage differentials, immigrants vs. Canadian natives, human capital quality, immigration policies, work experience, education
    JEL: J20 J24 J15 J61
    Date: 2012
  11. By: Epstein, Gil S. (Bar-Ilan University)
    Abstract: A model is set up where migrants must choose a level of social traits and consumption of ethnic goods. As the consumption level of ethnic goods increases, the migrants become ever more different to the local population and are less assimilated. Less assimilation affects the reaction of the local population to the migrants and their willingness to accept the newcomers. This social phenomenon and affects wages and unemployment. We show that the growth in the unemployment and social benefits of legal migrants increases the consumption of ethnic goods, thus creating a trap wherein the willingness of the local population to accept the migrants into the economy decreases. This process also increases the probability of the migrants' dependence on the welfare state. On the other hand, illegal migrants could play an important role in the assimilation of the legal migrants.
    Keywords: welfare state, social benefits, ethnic goods, social trait, assimilation, unemployment
    JEL: F22 O15 D6
    Date: 2012–09
  12. By: Robert Duval-Hernandez; Ferran Martinez i Coma
    Abstract: We study the preferences of natives for granting immigrants a set of rights. With a simple political economy model, we predict that unskilled natives oppose granting immigrants access to publicly provided goods when immigrants are relatively unskilled because of the associated competition for these goods. Alternatively, skilled natives oppose granting voting rights out of fear of costly redistributive fiscal policies. The opposite predictions are obtained if immigrants are more skilled than natives. We test these predictions with a dataset of public opinion on immigration in Spain, exploiting individual and regional variation in the data. The data supports these hypotheses in the case of public health services and voting rights. For public education, the results suggest that other considerations may matter more than the fiscal concerns captured in the model.
    Keywords: Public Opinion, Immigration, Political Economy, Spain
    Date: 2012–09
  13. By: Chen, Yuanyuan (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics); Feng, Shuaizhang (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics)
    Abstract: A significant proportion of migrant children in China are not able to attend public schools for lack of local household registration (HuKou), and turn to privately-operated migrant schools. This paper examines the consequences of such a partially involuntary school choice, using survey data and standardized test scores from field work conducted in Shanghai. We find that migrant students who are unable to enroll in public schools perform significantly worse than their more fortunate counterparts in both Chinese and Mathematics. We also use parental satisfaction and parental assessment of school quality as alternative measures of the educational outcome and find similar results. Our study suggests that access to public schools is the key factor determining the quality of education that migrant children receive.
    Keywords: education of migrant children, migrant school, standardized test score
    JEL: I28 J15 O15
    Date: 2012–09
  14. By: Alexandra Schwarz (German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF), Frankfurt am Main, Germany); Horst Weishaupt (German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF), Frankfurt am Main, Germany)
    Abstract: In this paper, we examine current changes in the ethnic and social composition of the preschool and school aged population as well as the consequences these changes may have for educational participation and thus for overall educational attainment in the near future. Based on the micro-census 2008 survey, we identify groups of migrants by region of parents’ origin where children - despite low levels of parents’ education and comparatively few socioeconomic resources - have greater chances of upward educational mobility than non-migrant children. By contrast, children from less educated, non-migrant families show a much lower tendency to be upwardly mobile, and educational choices are more closely tied to the economic and social background. Thus, our analysis provides evidence that educational background and socio-economic resources in the students’ families are of greater importance for the overall development of educational attainment in Germany than characteristics of migration and ethnicity.
    Keywords: demografische Entwicklung, Migration, Bildung, Bildungsmobilität, soziale Mobilität
    JEL: H75 I24 J10 J15
    Date: 2012–09

This nep-mig issue is ©2012 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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.