nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2013‒06‒30
six papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
Australian National University

  1. Ethnic Unemployment Rates and Frictional Markets By Gobillon, Laurent; Rupert, Peter; Wasmer, Etienne
  2. Flight of the H-1B: Inter-Firm Mobility and Return Migration Patterns for Skilled Guest Workers By Depew, Briggs; Norlander, Peter; Sorensen, Todd A
  3. Structural change, collective action, and social unrest in 1930s Spain By Jordi Domènech Feliu; Thomas Jeffrey Miley
  4. Empirical Characteristics of Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the U.S. By Vincenzo Caponi
  5. The Return Motivations of Legal Permanent Migrants: Evidence from Exchange Rate Shocks and Immigrants in Australia By Abarcar, Paolo
  6. Oceanic Travel Conditions and American Immigration, 1890-1914 By Keeling, Drew

  1. By: Gobillon, Laurent (INED, France); Rupert, Peter (University of California, Santa Barbara); Wasmer, Etienne (Sciences Po, Paris)
    Abstract: The unemployment rate in France is roughly 6 percentage points higher for African immigrants than for natives. In the US the unemployment rate is approximately 9 percentage points higher for blacks than for whites. Commute time data indicates that minorities face longer commute times to work, potentially reflecting more difficult access to jobs. In this paper we investigate the impact of spatial mismatch on the unemployment rate of ethnic groups using the matching model proposed by Rupert and Wasmer (2012). We find that spatial factors explain between 1 to 1.5 percentage points of the unemployment rate gap in both France and the US, amounting to 17% to 25% of the relative gap in France and about 10% in the US. Among these factors, differences in commuting distance plays the most important role. In France, though, longer commuting distances may be mitigated by higher mobility in the housing market for African workers. Overall, we still conclude that labor market factors remain the main explanation for the higher unemployment rate of Africans.
    Keywords: spatial mismatch hypotheses, commuting, job acceptance, ethnic unemployment rates
    JEL: J15 J61 R23
    Date: 2013–06
  2. By: Depew, Briggs (Louisiana State University); Norlander, Peter (University of California, Los Angeles); Sorensen, Todd A (University of California, Riverside)
    Abstract: Critics of the H-1B program for high-skilled workers argue that the program restricts immigrant job mobility and lacks a vehicle for adjusting the number of visas during a recession. We study the job mobility of highly-skilled Indian IT guest workers and provide new evidence on their inter-firm mobility and return migration patterns. We use a unique multi-year firm level dataset to show that, outside of the Great Recession, these workers are mobile and that lower paid guest workers are more likely than higher paid guest workers to separate to another firm in the U.S. We also analyze return migration decisions and find that low wage workers repatriate more than high wage workers, and that this relationship intensified during the Great Recession. This partially mitigates concerns that guest worker visa programs do not adjust to fluctuations in the macro economy. Following this finding, we show that the employment to population ratio (EPOP) for highly-skilled male workers has fallen at a much steeper rate since 2008 than is typically recognized, once we account for the phenomenon of discouraged immigrants.
    Keywords: skilled migration, labor market frictions, business cycles
    JEL: F22 J42 E32
    Date: 2013–06
  3. By: Jordi Domènech Feliu; Thomas Jeffrey Miley
    Abstract: The Spanish 2nd Republic (1931-1936) witnessed one of the fastest and deepest processes of popular mobilization in interwar Europe, generating a decisive reactionary wave that brought the country to the Civil War (1936-1939). We show in the paper that both contemporary comment and part of the historiography makes generalizations about the behaviour of the working classes in the period that stress idealistic, re-distributive and even religious motives to join movements of protest. In some other cases, state repression, poverty, and deteriorating living standards have been singled out as the main determinants of participation. This paper uses collective action theory to argue that key institutional changes and structural changes in labour markets were crucial to understand a significant part of the explosive popular mobilization of the period. We argue first that, before the second Republic, temporary migrants had been the main structural limitation against the stabilization of unions and collective bargaining in agricultural labour markets and in several service and industrial sectors. We then show how several industries underwent important structural changes since the late 1910s which stabilized part of the labour force and allowed for union growth and collective bargaining. In agricultural labour markets or in markets in which unskilled temporary workers could not be excluded, unions benefitted from republican legislation restricting temporary migrations and, as a consequence, rural unions saw large gains membership and participation. Historical narratives that focus on state repression or on changes in living standards to explain collective action and social conflict in Spain before the Civil War are incomplete without a consideration of the role of structural changes in labour markets from 1914 to 1931.
    Keywords: Structural change, Social conflict, Labour markets, Spain, Civil War, Interwar Europe, Migration, 2nd Republic
    JEL: N14 N34 N44 P16 J21 J43 J51 J52 J53 J61 J88
    Date: 2013–06
  4. By: Vincenzo Caponi
    Abstract: We combine the New Immigrant Survey (NIS), which contains information on US legal immigrants, with the American Community Survey (ACS), which contains information on all immigrants to the U.S., legal and illegal ones. Using econometric methodology proposed by Lancaster and Imbens (1996) we compute the probability for each observation in the ACS data to refer to an illegal immigrant, conditional on observed characteristics. The results for illegal versus legal immigrants are novel, since no other work has quanti ed the characteristics of illegal immigrants from a random sample. We nd that, compared to legal immigrants, illegal immigrants are more likely to be less educated, males, and married with spouse not present. These results are heterogeneous across education categories, country of origin (Mexico) and whether professional occupations are included or not in the analysis. Forecasts for the distribution of certain legal and illegal characteristics match those available from other sources, such as aggregate imputations by the Department of Homeland Security for illegal immigrants
    Keywords: legal immigrants; illegal immigrants; contaminated controls
    JEL: J15 F22
    Date: 2013–04
  5. By: Abarcar, Paolo
    Abstract: Why do legal permanent migrants return to their home countries? How do home country conditions influence this decision? This paper uses exogenous home country exchange rate shocks arising from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis to distinguish return motivations of a national sample of Australian immigrants. On average, a 10% favorable exchange rate shock (a depreciation in the home country currency) leads to a reduced likelihood of return of 0.37 percentage points for migrants. The effect is found to be stronger for those who had pre-existing intentions to return, weaker for those undecided, and zero for those who initially stated their desire to stay. These results favor a life-cycle explanation for migrant behavior and reject the theory that migrants are target earners who seek to invest upon return home.
    Keywords: return migration, exchange rates, Asian Financial Crisis, migrants, immigrants
    JEL: F22 J15 J6 J61 O15
    Date: 2013–06–25
  6. By: Keeling, Drew
    Abstract: The pace and incidence of improvements to oceanic travel conditions for American immigrants, during the quarter century preceeding the First World War, were significantly constrained by shipping lines’ capacity considerations. The improvements had no detectable impact on the overall volume of migration, but did influence the flow by route and, probably, the frequency of repeat crossings. Data gathered from transatlantic shipping sources quantify the evolution of travel accommodations for migrants, as “closed berth” cabins, for two to eight passengers each, slowly supplanted older and less comfortable “open-berth” dormitory style quarters. By 1900, roughly 20% of North Atlantic second and steerage (third) class passenger capacity was in closed berths; by 1914, 35%. Steerage alone went from about 10% to 24% closed berths. Accommodation of migrants in closed berths came sooner for northern Europe routes and later for the southern. Prior suggestions attributing the pace of the conversion to competitive impediments, and to discrimination against southern European passengers, are not corroborated. Closed berths for migrants came gradually to all routes regardless of shifting cartel effectiveness, passenger cartels enhanced non-price competition (e.g. in on-board conditions) and differentiation was much more by travel route than by passenger ethnicity. Instead, closed berths were significantly related to the incidence of tourist traffic (highest for north Europe, and seasonally somewhat opposite to migration) because capacity utilization could be raised by using the same quarters for tourists and migrants, provided that the thus interchanged units were closed berth cabins. Growing rates of repeat migration seem to have been mostly a (further contributing) cause, but also partly an effect, of conversion from open to closed berths. Travel condition improvements on North Pacific migration routes lagged the North Atlantic, possibly due to the Pacific’s lower percentage of seasonally offsetting tourism, its less-concentrated migrant flows, and its smaller ships with lower scale economies.
    Keywords: Migration, repeat migration, immigration, transportation, shipping, travel, travel conditions, corporate capacity management, U.S. immigration policy
    JEL: F22 J68 L91 M10 N30 N70
    Date: 2013–06–26

This nep-mig issue is ©2013 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.
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