nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2012‒11‒11
eighteen papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
Australian National University

  1. From Empire to Europe: Britain in the World Economy By Kevin H. O’Rourke
  2. Efficiency gains from liberalizing labor mobility By Frédéric DOCQUIER; Joël MACHADO; Khalid SEKKAT
  3. A Global Assessment of Human Capital Mobility: the Role of non-OECD Destinations By Frédéric DOCQUIER; Çağlar ÖZDEN; Christopher PARSONS; Ehran ARTUC
  4. European immigrants in the UK before and after the 2004 enlargement: Is there a change in immigrant self-selection? By Simonetta Longhi; Magdalena Rokicka
  5. Where Should I Live? The Locational Choices of Australians and New Zealanders By Mathias Sinning; Steve Stillman
  6. Immigration and the Distribution of Incomes By Francine D. Blau; Lawrence M. Kahn
  7. The Effect of Emigration from Poland on Polish Wages By Christian Dustmann; Tommaso Frattini; Anna Rosso
  8. Occupational and Earnings Mobility of Polish Migrants in Ireland in the Recession By Peter Mühlau;
  9. Muslims in France: Identifying a Discriminatory Equilibrium By Adida, Claire L.; Laitin, David D.; Valfort, Marie-Anne
  10. Understanding the Long-Run Decline in Interstate Migration By Greg Kaplan; Sam Schulhofer-Wohl
  11. The Determinants of Rural Migrants' Employment Choice in China: Results from a Joint Estimation By Cui, Yuling; Nahm, Daehoon; Tani, Massimiliano
  12. Immigration and Economic Growth: Do Origin and Destination Matter? By Kang, Young ho; Kim, Byung Yeon
  13. Immigration Conflicts By Junko Doi; Laixun Zhao
  14. Socioeconomic Assimilation and Wealth Accumulation of Migrants in Australia By Vaira-Lucero, Matias; Nahm, Daehoon; Tani, Massimiliano
  15. The Impact of Language Proficiency on Immigrants' Earnings in Spain By Budría, Santiago; Swedberg, Pablo
  16. Migration, Remittances and Rural Employment Patterns: Evidence from China By Sylvie Démurger; Li Shi
  17. Internal Migration of Ethnic Minorities: Evidence from Western Germany By Belit Saka
  18. Immigration, Growth and Unemployment: Panel VAR Evidence from OECD Countries By Boubtane, Ekrame; Coulibaly, Dramane; Rault, Christophe

  1. By: Kevin H. O’Rourke (All Souls College, Oxford)
    Abstract: This chapter provides a brief introduction to the history of Britain’s engagement with the international economy between 1870 and 2010. It begins by discussing long run trends in the integration of the British economy with the rest of the world over time. Economic historians are typically interested in four types of flows between economies: trade in goods and services; flows of capital; migration flows; and flows of ideas and technology. The last flow is probably the most important one for countries hoping to catch up to the international technological frontier. While this was not the right way to characterise the British economy in 1870, it probably was at various points after World War II. Unfortunately, such flows are also the most difficult to quantify, and so I follow the bulk of the literature in concentrating on trade, capital flows and migration.
    Date: 2012–10–04
  2. By: Frédéric DOCQUIER (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and FNRS); Joël MACHADO (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)); Khalid SEKKAT (Economic Research Forum and Université Libre de Bruxelles)
    Abstract: This paper quantifies the effect of a complete liberalization of international migration on the world GDP and its distribution across regions. We build a general equilibrium model endogenizing bilateral migration and wage disparities between and within countries. A dual strategy is developed to identify total migration costs and their legal component. Contrary to existing studies, we obtain limited efficiency gains. Accounting for incompressible moving costs strongly reduces the benefits from liberalization. When we account for endogenous productivity, congestion, heterogeneous education quality, imperfect substitution between migrants and natives, and network effects, efficiency gains reach about 4 percent of the world GDP.
    Date: 2012–10–30
  3. By: Frédéric DOCQUIER (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and FNRS); Çağlar ÖZDEN (World Bank); Christopher PARSONS (University of Oxford); Ehran ARTUC (World Bank)
    Abstract: The discourse concerning the mobility of human capital internationally typically evokes migratory patterns from poorer to relatively more wealthy countries and this focus is strongly reflected in the (brain drain) literature. This emphasis omits an important and as yet understudied aspect of the phenomena however, namely skill transfer to non-OECD and in particular, emerging nations. This paper contributes to the literature by first developing a new dataset of international bilateral migration stocks by gender and education level, which includes both OECD and non-OECD countries as destinations in 1990 and 2000. We then use pseudo-gravity model regressions to impute missing values where data are unavailable, such that we are able to provide, for the first time, a global assessment of human capital mobility. The comprehensiveness of the resulting matrices facilitates a more nuanced definition of emigration rates based on the concept of the natural labour force, which additionally considers both entries and exits of workers.
    Keywords: International migration, labor mobility, brain drain
    JEL: F22 J61 O15
    Date: 2012–09–30
  4. By: Simonetta Longhi (Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex); Magdalena Rokicka (Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex)
    Abstract: The 2004 accession of Eastern European countries (EU8) to the European Union has generated concerns about the influx of low-skill immigrants to the Western member states (EU15). Only three countries, namely Ireland, Sweden, and the UK, did not impose restrictions to immigration from Eastern Europe. Did the elimination of barrier to immigration have an impact on the quality of immigrants arriving to the UK? Using EU15 immigrants as a control group, we find systematic differences between EU8 immigrants arrived before and after the enlargement. The elimination of barriers to immigration seems to have changed the quantity and quality of EU8 immigrants to the UK.
    Keywords: EU enlargement; East-West migration, UK labour market, self-selection.
    JEL: F22 J30 J61
    Date: 2012–11
  5. By: Mathias Sinning (Australian National University, RWI and IZA); Steve Stillman (Department of Economics, University of Otago, New Zealand)
    Abstract: This paper exploits the existence of the trans-Tasman travel agreement and the availability of comparable census data in Australia and New Zealand to examine the extent to which individuals respond to different labour market conditions in the two countries (and their subregions), as well as measures of local amenities and cost of living when deciding where to live. Our findings suggest that the trans-Tasman travel agreement did contribute to a mutual exchange of migrants with many similarities regarding the size and human capital endowment of migration flows in both directions. However, considerable differences between the two countries remain with regard to internal, trans-Tasman and other international migration.
    Keywords: International Migration; International Agreements; Regional Labour Markets
    JEL: F22 F55 R23
    Date: 2012–09
  6. By: Francine D. Blau; Lawrence M. Kahn
    Abstract: We review research on the impact of immigration on income distribution. We discuss routes through which immigration can affect income distribution in the host and source countries, including compositional effects and effects on native incomes. Immigration may affect the composition of skills among the residents of a country. Moreover, immigrants can, by changing relative factor supplies, affect native wage and employment rates and the return to capital. We then provide evidence on the level and recent increases in immigration to OECD countries and on the distribution of native and immigrant educational attainment. We next provide a decomposition of 1979-2009 changes in US wage inequality, highlighting the effects of immigration on workforce composition. We then consider the economic theory of the impact of immigration on income distribution, emphasizing labor market substitution and complementarity between natives and immigrants. Further, by changing job opportunities or child care availability, immigrants can affect family, as well as individual, income distribution. We review research methodologies used to estimate the impact of immigration on the native income distribution. These include the structural approach (estimating substitution and complementarity among factors of production, including capital and labor force groups) as well as the natural experiment approach (seeking exogenous sources of variation in immigration) to studying the labor market. We then discuss evidence on these questions for Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Portugal, Spain and the United States, as well as the impact of emigration on source country income distribution.
    JEL: D33 J3 J61
    Date: 2012–11
  7. By: Christian Dustmann (University College London and CReAM); Tommaso Frattini (Università degli Studi di Milano, CReAM, LdA and IZA); Anna Rosso (University College London and CReAM)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the effect of emigration from Poland around the time of EU accession on the Polish labour market. We develop a simple model that guides our empirical specification and provides a clear interpretation for our estimates. Focussing on the 1998–2007 period for Poland, we use a unique data set that contains information about household members who are currently living abroad, which allows us to develop region-specific emigration rates and estimate emigration’s effect on wages using within-region variation. Our results show that emigration from Poland was largest for workers with intermediate-level skills and that it is wages for this skill group that increased most. We also show that emigration led to a slight increase in wages overall but that workers at the low end of the skill distribution made no gains and may actually have experienced slight wage decreases.
    Keywords: Emigration, Wages, Impact.
    JEL: J31 J61
    Date: 2012–10
  8. By: Peter Mühlau (Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin);
    Abstract: How has the recession affected the employment and job quality of Polish migrants in Ireland? The paper analyse unique data of more than 600 Polish migrants in Dublin, that has been collected using respondent-driven sampling, to shed lights on this question. Based on the reconstruction of the employment histories of the respondents, the paper demonstrates that employment levels, occupational status and earnings have been surprisingly stable at the macro-level of the Polish community in Dublin between 2008 and 2010. Underlying this macro-stability is a high degree of individual transitions in and out of employment and of vertical earnings and occupational mobility. Up-to 50 percent of Polish migrants in 2008 may have seen a deterioration of their labour market position until 2010, while in the same period about 40 percent may have seen gains in terms of employment and occupational attainment. The position of Polish women improved strongly relative to Polish men in this period. The main reason is that men on particularly well-paid and prestigious jobs had a particular high risk of losing their job. Job losses among women were fewer and the quality of the lost jobs was poor relative to the average job women held in 2008. The study is the first longitudinal study of labour market and occupational attainment of immigrants in Ireland. Length: 33 pages
  9. By: Adida, Claire L. (University of California, San Diego); Laitin, David D. (Stanford University); Valfort, Marie-Anne (University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: We analyze the assimilation patterns of Muslim immigrants in Western countries with a unique identification strategy. Survey and experimental data collected in France in 2009 reveal that Muslims and rooted French are locked in a sub-optimal equilibrium whereby (i) rooted French exhibit taste-based discrimination against those they are able to identify as Muslims and (ii) Muslims perceive French institutions as systematically discriminatory against them. This equilibrium is sustained because Muslims, perceiving discrimination as institutionalized, are reluctant to assimilate and rooted French, who are able to identify Muslims as such due to their lower assimilation, reveal their distaste for Muslims.
    Keywords: assimilation, Muslim and Christian immigrants, discrimination, France
    JEL: C90 D03 J15 J71 Z12
    Date: 2012–10
  10. By: Greg Kaplan; Sam Schulhofer-Wohl
    Abstract: We analyze the secular decline in interstate migration in the United States between 1991 and 2011. Gross flows of people across states are about 10 times larger than net flows, yet have declined by around 50 percent over the past 20 years. We argue that the fall in migration is due to a decline in the geographic specificity of returns to occupations, together with an increase in workers' ability to learn about other locations before moving there, through information technology and inexpensive travel. These explanations find support in micro data on the distribution of earnings and occupations across space and on rates of repeat migration. Other explanations, including compositional changes, regional changes, and the rise in real incomes, do not fit the data. We develop a model to formalize the geographic-specificity and information mechanisms and show that a calibrated version is consistent with cross-sectional and time-series patterns of migration, occupations, and incomes. Our mechanisms can explain at least one-third and possibly all of the decline in gross migration since 1991.
    JEL: D83 J11 J24 J61 R12 R23
    Date: 2012–11
  11. By: Cui, Yuling (Macquarie University, Sydney); Nahm, Daehoon (Macquarie University, Sydney); Tani, Massimiliano (Macquarie University, Sydney)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the determinants of employment choice of rural migrant workers across state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and various subtypes of non-state owned enterprises (non-SOEs) by taking into account unobservable characteristics that link the choice to migrate with the choice of employer. Using pooled cross-section data for 1995 and 2002, the results indicate that the choice of employment is positively related to unobserved determinants of migration. This result implies that estimating employment choices without controlling for migration status leads to biased estimates. Most rural migrants appear strongly pulled into non-SOEs because of the higher wages and despite longer working hours. The provision of pension benefits also positively motivates employees' choices.
    Keywords: rural migrant workers, employment choice, SOEs, non-SOEs, China
    JEL: C35 J21 J61
    Date: 2012–10
  12. By: Kang, Young ho; Kim, Byung Yeon
    Abstract: This paper assesses the heterogeneous effects of immigration on economic growth depending on both the origin and the destination countries. Following the development of a simple growth model augmented by the embodied human capital of immigrants, we estimate the growth equation using both a gravity-style instrument variable approach and the dynamic system-GMM estimator. We find that immigration from developed economies positively affects the economic growth of the host countries. Furthermore, the growth-enhancing effect of immigration is significantly larger when immigration flows from developed to developing economies than when it does to those that include both developed and developing economies. We interpret these results as evidence of immigrants from developed countries bringing with them - upon entry - their advanced knowledge on technology and institutions into the developing countries that host them.
    Keywords: Immigration, economic growth, human capital, institutions
    JEL: F22 O15 O41 O43
    Date: 2012–07
  13. By: Junko Doi (Faculty of Economics, Kansai University, Japan); Laixun Zhao (Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration (RIEB), Kobe University, Japan)
    Abstract: Almost all existing literature assumes immigrants immediately assimilate in the receiving country. In contrast, the present paper considers the case of non-immidiate assimilation, and analyzes immigration conflicts in an overlapping generations dynamic system. We examine three types of conflicts that arise when immigrants come in: skill conflicts that affect the capital rental and also cause the wage gap to change between skilled and unskilled workers; intergenerational conflicts that lead to different impacts on the young and old generations; and distributional conflicts that affect each generation's life time utility unequally. The degree of substitution between natives and immigrants in production plays a key role. We also analyze the welfare composition in detail generation by generation, and provide policy recommendation for each case.
    Keywords: Immigration, Overlapping generations, Inequality
    JEL: F22
    Date: 2012–10
  14. By: Vaira-Lucero, Matias (Macquarie University, Sydney); Nahm, Daehoon (Macquarie University, Sydney); Tani, Massimiliano (Macquarie University, Sydney)
    Abstract: This paper investigates to what extent the wealth accumulation of immigrants is explained by their degree of assimilation, defined as the immigrants' capacity to become more similar over time to the local people in terms of their norms, values, behaviours, and socioeconomic characteristics. The existing practice to measure assimilation is the use of a time-dimensioned variable like years since migration, which reflects the individual's adaptation to the host country through the implied acquisition of relevant skills and experience. We complement this approach by defining assimilation on the basis of migrants' subjective assessments of integration within the community. To do so, we exploit the rich information collected by the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA). In particular, we explore the possible relationship between migrants' savings and assimilation estimating several models, from a pooled OLS to panel data models such as random effect and population average. We find that assimilation has a significant positive effect on wealth accumulation, but in different degrees depending on migrants origins and the type of assets. Understanding migrants' wealth and their perceived degree of assimilation is relevant to understand the supply of domestic savings and their variability. It also carries policy implications on what could be done to affect migrants' sense of assimilation and connected economic behaviour.
    Keywords: precautionary savings, net worth, uncertainty, migrants' assimilation
    JEL: D31
    Date: 2012–10
  15. By: Budría, Santiago (University of Madeira); Swedberg, Pablo (St. Louis University)
    Abstract: This article uses micro-data from the Spanish National Immigrant Survey to investigate the impact of Spanish language proficiency on immigrants' earnings. The results, based on Instrumental Variables (IV), point to a substantial earnings return to Spanish proficiency, of approximately 27%. This figure varies largely across educational groups, with high-qualified workers earning a premium of almost 50%. This conspicuous complementarity between formal qualifications and language skills poses a challenge for traditional language training policies, for these typically neglect the immigrants' heterogeneous educational background.
    Keywords: immigration, Spanish language proficiency, earnings, instrumental variables
    JEL: F22 J24 J61
    Date: 2012–10
  16. By: Sylvie Démurger (GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - École Normale Supérieure - Lyon); Li Shi (School of Economics and Business Administration - Beijing Normal University / Beijing)
    Abstract: This paper explores the rural labor market impact of migration in China using crosssectional data on rural households for the year 2007. A switching probit model is used to estimate the impact of belonging to a migrant-sending household on the individual occupational choice categorized in four binary decisions : farm work, wage work, self-employment and housework. The paper then goes on to estimate how the impact of migration differs across different types of migrant households identified along two additional lines : remittances and migration history. Results show that individual occupational choice in rural China is responsive to migration, at both the individual and the family levels, but the impacts differ : individual migration experience favors subsequent local off-farm work, whereas at the family level, migration drives the left-behinds to farming rather than to off-farm activities. Our results also point to the interplay of various channels through which migration influences rural employment patterns.
    Keywords: labor migration; labor supply; remittances; temporary migration; left-behind; China
    Date: 2012–10–23
  17. By: Belit Saka
    Abstract: This paper deals with long distance internal migration patterns of the immigrant population in Germany and addresses the question whether immigrants are more mobile than native Germans and to what extent the differences in spatial mobility behavior between immi-grants and native Germans are influenced by a) individual level characteristics, b) macro level regional economic characteristics and c) regional ties. The analysis shows in general a very low rate of long distance internal migration in Germany for native Germans as well as for immigrants. Even after controlling for individual and regional level characteristics, the immigrant population is half as mobile as native Germans. The results are more robust for the 2nd generation immigrants.
    Date: 2012
  18. By: Boubtane, Ekrame (University Paris 1); Coulibaly, Dramane (CEPII, Paris); Rault, Christophe (University of Orléans)
    Abstract: This paper examines empirically the interaction between immigration and host country economic conditions. We employ panel VAR techniques to use a large annual dataset on 22 OECD countries over the period 1987-2009. The VAR approach allows to addresses the endogeneity problem by allowing the endogenous interaction between the variables in the system. Our results provide evidence of migration contribution to host economic prosperity (positive impact on GDP per capita and negative impact on aggregate unemployment, native- and foreign-born unemployment rates). We also find that migration is influenced by host economic conditions (migration responds positively to host GDP per capita and negatively to host total unemployment rate).
    Keywords: unemployment, growth, immigration, panel VAR
    JEL: E20 F22 J61
    Date: 2012–10

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