nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2015‒12‒08
sixteen papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. The electoral migration cycle By Federico Revelli
  2. Can Selective Immigration Policies Reduce Migrants' Quality? By Bertoli, Simone; Dequiedt, Vianney; Zenou, Yves
  3. Self‐Employment amongst Migrant Groups in England and Wales: New Evidence from Census Microdata By Clark, Ken; Drinkwater, Stephen; Robinson, Catherine
  4. Reducing prejudice through actual and imagined contact: A field experiment with Malawian shopkeepers and Chinese immigrants By Gu, Jun; Mueller, Annika; Nielsen, Ingrid; Shachat, Jason; Smyth, Russell
  5. CONCEPTUALISING INTERNATIONAL HIGH­SKILLED MIGRATION By Christopher Parsons; Sebastien Rojon; Lena Wettach
  6. The Gravity of High Skilled Migration Policies By Mathias Czaika; Christopher R Parsons
  7. Impact of EU’s agricultural and fisheries policies on the migration of third country nationals to the EU By Alan Matthews;
  8. Twenty Years' Evolution of North Korean Migration, 1994–2014: A Human Security Perspective By Jiyoung Song
  9. Homeownership of immigrants in France: selection effects related to international migration flows By Laurent Gobillon; Matthieu Solignac
  10. Moving people with ideas - innovation inter-regional mobility and firm heterogeneity By Riccardo Crescenzi; Luisa Gagliardi
  11. Trade, Migration and Regional Income Differences: Evidence from China By Xiaodong Zhu; Trevor Tombe
  12. Migration and Law in Japan By Atsushi Kondo
  13. The Nordic Welfare Model in an Open European Labor Market By Bratsberg, Bernt; Røed, Knut
  14. Internal migration and public policy By Giuranno, Michele; Biswas, Rongili
  15. Left Behind but Doing Good? Civic Engagement in Two Post-Socialist Countries By Nikolova, Milena; Roman, Monica; Zimmermann, Klaus F.
  16. Why Does the Government Fail to Improve the Living Conditions of Migrant Workers in Shanghai? Reflections on the Policies and the Implementations of Public Rental Housing under Neoliberalism By Yang Shen

  1. By: Federico Revelli
    Abstract: This paper puts forward a new test of Tiebout sorting that relies on the exogenous time structure of recurrent local elections. The test is based on the idea that the policy uncertainty that is associated with periodic competitive elections should be expected to induce delay of migration, thus generating an electoral migration cycle of relatively low rates of migration before the elec- tions, followed by relatively high rates of migration when electoral uncertainty is resolved. Conversely, interjurisdictional migration flows that are unrelated to local public service provision motives ought to be orthogonal to the timing of local elections. Empirically, I study sorting patterns across several thousands of peninsular Italy’s municipalities through the increasingly turbulent 2002-2013 decade. I find evidence of an electoral migration cycle in the sense that the timing of internal migration flows is systematically influenced by the schedule of recurrent mayoral elections.
    Keywords: Tiebout sorting, local elections, uncertainty
    JEL: D72 H77 C23
    Date: 2015–12
  2. By: Bertoli, Simone (CERDI, University of Auvergne); Dequiedt, Vianney (CERDI, University of Auvergne); Zenou, Yves (Stockholm University)
    Abstract: Destination countries can adopt selective immigration policies to improve migrants' quality. Screening potential migrants on the basis of observable characteristics also influences their self-selection on unobservables. We propose a model that analyzes the effects of selective immigration policies on migrants' quality, measured by their wages at destination. We show that the prevailing pattern of selection on unobservables influences the effect of an increase in selectivity, which can reduce migrants' quality when migrants are positively self-selected on unobservables. We also demonstrate that, in this case, the quality-maximizing share of educated migrants declines with the scale of migration.
    Keywords: migrants' quality, self-selection, selective policies
    JEL: F22 J61
    Date: 2015–11
  3. By: Clark, Ken (University of Manchester); Drinkwater, Stephen (University of Roehampton); Robinson, Catherine (University of Kent)
    Abstract: Self‐employment constitutes a vital part of the economy since entrepreneurs can provide not only employment for themselves but also for others. The link between self‐employment and immigration is, however, complex since self‐employment can be viewed as both a haven from the paid labour market or as a source of economic growth. Moreover, the nature of self-employment has changed considerably in recent decades, especially with regards to providing a flexible form of employment for many demographic groups. We investigate the evolving relationship between self‐employment and immigration in the UK using recently released microdata from the 2011 Census for England and Wales. Our findings indicate large variations, with high self‐employment rates observed for some groups with a long established history of migration to the UK (especially men born in Pakistan) and also for some groups who have arrived more recently (such as from the EU's new member states). We further explore the differences, analyse variations by gender and identify key determining factors. In addition to certain socio‐economic characteristics, it is found that migration‐related influences, such as English language proficiency and period of arrival in the UK, play an important role for some groups.
    Keywords: self‐employment, immigrants, United Kingdom
    JEL: J61 F22 J21
    Date: 2015–11
  4. By: Gu, Jun; Mueller, Annika; Nielsen, Ingrid; Shachat, Jason; Smyth, Russell
    Abstract: We examine the ability of intergroup contact to ameliorate the effect of in-group bias on economic outcomes. Specifically, we employ randomized experiments to test whether actual and imagined contact is effective in reducing prejudice between indigenous Malawian shopkeepers (in-group), and their Chinese immigrant counterparts (out-group), and test the stability of these changes over time. We find differing results with actual contact. Local Malawians´ attitude towards Chinese migrants did not improve, but their willingness to spend time did. In contrast, actual contact spurred improvement in the Chinese migrants´ attitude toward local Malawians, but did not increase their willingness to spend time with them. These effects persisted over a time period of at least ten days. Imagined contact had no impact on Malawians´ attitude or behavioral intention with respect to Chinese migrants
    Keywords: Chinese migrants in Africa,actual contact,imagined contact,prejudice,field experiment
    JEL: C93 J15
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Christopher Parsons (Business School, The University of Western Australia); Sebastien Rojon (VU University Amsterdam); Lena Wettach (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology)
    Abstract: Pinning down a definition of high-skilled migration is a complex issue. The resulting ambiguity hinders the measurement of human capital, stymies meaningful international comparisons of the mobility of skills and undermines the evaluation of immigration policies. In this paper, we adopt three alternative stances to conceptualise high-skilled migration: from the perspective of those responsible for recording immigrants at the country level, from the standpoint of the methodologies that underpin countries’ occupational nomenclatures and lastly an inductive approach that classifies high skilled migrants based upon nations’ unilateral immigration policies. Each of the three approaches is contentious such that we identify three major discordances: a definitional discordance whereby the same individual may be deemed as more or less skilled depending upon the variables used to define them, an occupational discordance whereby the same individual may be classified as highly skilled or not depending upon the occupational classification used to record them and a policy discordance whereby the skills of individuals in the same profession are valued differently by nation states depending upon the prevailing migration policies. We discuss all three discordances in detail, before making recommendations to remedy them, thereby bringing clarity to scholars and policy makers alike.
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Mathias Czaika (International Migration Institute); Christopher R Parsons (Business School, The University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: Despite the almost ubiquitously held belief among policy makers that immigration policies aimed at attracting high-skilled workers meet their desired aims, academics continue to debate their efficacy. This paper presents a comprehensive assessment on the effectiveness of such policies. We combine a unique new data set of annual bilateral high-skilled immigration labour flows for 10 OECD destinations between 2000 and 2012, with new databases comprising both unilateral and bilateral policy instruments, to examine which types, and combinations, of policies are most effective in attracting and selecting high skilled workers using a micro-founded gravity framework. Points-based systems are much more effective in attracting and selecting high-skilled migrants in comparison with requiring a job offer, labour market tests or working in shortage listed occupations. Financial incentives yield better outcomes in ‘demand-driven’ systems than when combined with points-based systems however. Offers of permanent residency, while attracting the highly skilled, overall reduce the human capital content of labour flows since they prove more attractive to non-high skill workers. Bilateral recognition of diploma and social security agreements, foster greater flows of high skilled workers and improve the skill selectivity of immigrant flows. Conversely, double taxation agreements deter high skilled migrants, although they do not alter the overall skill selectivity. Higher skilled wages increase the number and skill selectivity of labour flows, whereas higher levels of unemployment exert the opposite effects. Migrant networks, contiguous borders, common language and freedom of movement, while encouraging greater numbers of high skilled workers, exert greater effects on non-high skilled workers, thereby reducing the skill content of labour flows. Greater geographic distances however, while deterring both types of workers, affect the high skilled less, thereby improving the selection on skills. Our results are robust to a variety of empirical specifications, accounting for destination specific amenities, multilateral resistance to migration and the endogeneity of immigration policies.
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Alan Matthews (Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin);
    Abstract: This paper examines the possible impact of the EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP) and its common fisheries policy (CFP) (particularly its external dimension) on the migration of third country nationals to the EU. First, the expected impacts of both policies are discussed taking into account that both policies have undergone considerable changes in recent years. Data on irregular migration (as an imperfect proxy for economic migration driven mainly by ‘push’ factors) are used to identify those countries which are the principal sources of irregular migrants to the EU. The likely contribution of the CAP and CFP to these migration flows is discussed. For both policies, detailed case-study work in individual countries would be necessary to discover if either policy does have discernible effects and, if so, the nature of those effects.
    Keywords: EU common agricultural policy, EU common fisheries policy, migration
    JEL: F22 Q18 Q22
    Date: 2015–12
  8. By: Jiyoung Song
    Abstract: Over the past two decades, there have been notable changes in North Korean migration: from forced migration to trafficking in women, from heroic underground railways to people smuggling by Christian missionaries. The migration has taken mixed forms of asylum seeking, human trafficking, undocumented labour migration and people smuggling. The paper follows the footsteps of North Korean migrants from China through Southeast Asia to South Korea, and from there to the United Kingdom, to see the dynamic correlation between human (in)security and irregular migration. It analyses how individual migrant's agency interacts with other key actors in the migration system and eventually brings about emerging patterns of four distinctive forms of irregular migration in a macro level. It uses human security as its conceptual framework that is a people-centred, rather than state- or national security-centric approach to irregular migration.
    Keywords: North Korea;migration;human trafficking;people smuggling;human security
    Date: 2015–05–05
  9. By: Laurent Gobillon (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR, University of Pennsylvania [Philadelphia]); Matthieu Solignac (University of Pennsylvania [Philadelphia])
    Abstract: We investigate the difference in homeownership rates between natives and first-generation immigrants in France, and how this difference evolves over the 1975-1999 period, by using a large longitudinal dataset. We find that the homeownership gap is large and has increased. Entries into the territory have a large negative effect on the evolution of homeownership rates for immigrants. Although entrants have on average better education than people staying in the territory for the entire period (i.e. stayers), they are younger and thus at an earlier stage in the wealth accumulation process. They are also located in large cities, where the homeownership rate is lower, and the returns to their characteristics are lower than those for stayers. Leavers have a positive effect on the evolution of homeownership rates for immigrants because they have a low access to homeownership and they exit the country. But this effect is only one-third that of entrants. For stayers, we show that returns to characteristics change in favor of immigrants, which is consistent with assimilation theories. However, among stayers who access homeownership, immigrants end up in owned dwellings that are of lesser quality than natives.
    Keywords: Homeownership,Immigrants,Longitudinal data
    Date: 2015–11
  10. By: Riccardo Crescenzi; Luisa Gagliardi
    Abstract: This paper looks at the link between inter-regional mobility, innovation and firms’ behavioural heterogeneity in their reliance on localised external sources of knowledge. By linking patent data (capturing inventors’ inter-regional mobility) with firm-level data (providing information on firms’ innovation inputs and behaviour) a robust identification strategy makes it possible to shed new light on the geographical mobility-innovation nexus. The analysis of English firms suggests that firm-level heterogeneity – largely overlooked in previous studies - is the key to explain the innovation impact of inter-regional mobility over and above learning-by-hiring mechanisms. A causal link between inflows of new inventors into the local labour market and innovation emerges only for firms that make the use of external knowledge sources an integral part of their innovation strategies.
    Keywords: innovation; labour mobility; inter-regional migration; spillovers
    JEL: J61 O15 O31 R23
    Date: 2015–04
  11. By: Xiaodong Zhu (University of Toronto); Trevor Tombe (University of Calgary)
    Abstract: International trade is closely related to within-country trade and migration. To study these interrelationships, we develop a novel general equilibrium model of internal and external trade with migration, featuring both trade and migration frictions. We estimate these frictions using unique data on China's trade and migration; the costs are high, but declined after 2000. We quantify the consequences of lower trade costs (international and internal) and migration costs on welfare, internal migration, and regional income differences. External trade liberalization increases China's trade, but only modestly increases welfare while increasing regional income differences. Internal trade liberalization has large welfare gains and reduces regional income differences. Migration cost reductions dramatically increase migration and lower regional income differences but -- surprisingly -- only modestly increase trade and aggregate welfare, mainly because the migration costs remain very high. In a counterfactual exercise in which we lower the migration costs in China to the levels similar to those in the US, we find very large increases in both trade and aggregate welfare. Our results suggest internal reforms dominate external trade liberalization as a source of aggregate welfare gains and improvements in regional income inequality.
    Date: 2015
  12. By: Atsushi Kondo
    Abstract: It has been claimed that Japan is not a country of immigration. Where is Japan's distinctiveness evident, and what features does it share with other countries? This article examines the unique points of Japan and investigates problems of residence and citizenship. This article argues that Japan's historical legacy and international human rights have had an impact on Japan's migration and law, takes into consideration the need for new policies and examines some thorny issues. Globalisation and an ageing population are generating a debate on implementing a more liberal admission policy for highly skilled workers, students and nurses/care workers. Thorny issues comprise ethnic discrimination underscored by a colonial legacy and the still existing cold war in East Asia. Drawing a comparison with selected developed countries, this article indicates several challenges for Japan's migration and law. Markedly, Japan is the only developed industrialised democracy that does not have an anti-discrimination law.
    Keywords: immigration law;regularisation;citizenship;quota refugees;highly skilled migrants
    Date: 2015–01–05
  13. By: Bratsberg, Bernt (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research); Røed, Knut (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Is it possible to sustain an ambitious and redistributive Nordic welfare state in a Europe with open borders? Drawing on longitudinal administrative records spanning four decades, we first present discouraging historical evidence showing that labor migrants from low‐income source countries tend to have unstable employment careers with marked overrepresentation in welfare programs. This pattern extends to post‐accession labor migrants from Eastern Europe, who quickly experience high rates of unemployment. The article discusses possible avenues for making the welfare state "migration robust." We argue that there are alternatives to reclosing borders and/or cutting down welfare state ambitions, and recommend policies based on strengthening of activity requirements in social insurance programs, raising minimum job standards, and substitution of work‐oriented services for cash‐based family allowances.
    Keywords: EU enlargement, social insurance, labor migration
    JEL: F22 H55 J22
    Date: 2015–11
  14. By: Giuranno, Michele; Biswas, Rongili
    Abstract: This paper studies the relation between internal migration and public spending on public goods. We describe centralized public policy when a central government is comprised of elected representatives from local electoral districts. Internal migration determines the median voter in the districts. The median voters decide the equilibrium policy through bargaining. We find the conditions under which exogenous inter-jurisdictional migration results in larger or smaller public spending. The paper also studies whether and when inter-regional migration leads to the efficient policy outcome. We find that the efficient size of government spending depends on the way internal migration leads to convergence among the regional median incomes and the national average income.
    Date: 2015–12
  15. By: Nikolova, Milena (IZA); Roman, Monica (Bucharest University of Economic Studies); Zimmermann, Klaus F. (IZA and University of Bonn)
    Abstract: The fall of socialism in Central and Eastern Europe restored ordinary citizens' rights and freedoms and ended their political and social isolation. While the freedom of movement was quickly embraced, civil society revival lagged due to the eroded civic norms, declining social capital, and worsening economic conditions. In this paper, we examine the link between the out-migration of relatives and friends and the pro-social behavior of the left behinds in two post-socialist countries – Bulgaria and Romania – the EU's poorest, unhappiest, and among the most corrupt members. We show that having close contacts abroad is consistently positively associated with civic engagement and that the cultural transmission of norms from abroad could be driving the results. Specifically, the strength of the civic engagement culture of the family or friend's destination matters for the pro-social behavior of respondents in the home countries. Our results imply that the emigration of family and friends may have positive but previously undocumented consequences for the individuals and communities left behind in Bulgaria and Romania. Given civil society's role for development in post-socialist Europe and the socio-economic and institutional challenges that Bulgaria and Romania face compared with the rest of the EU, understanding the channels fostering civil society and well-being are important for national and EU policymakers.
    Keywords: international migration, left behind, civic engagement, social remittances, post-socialism
    JEL: I30 I31 F22 P30 Z10
    Date: 2015–11
  16. By: Yang Shen
    Abstract: How to get affordable housing is the primary concern of many peasant migrants working in Shanghai. Although the central government has issued a series of policies regarding migrant housing in recent years, they are merely rhetoric and incapable to meet migrant workers' needs. This article aims to interrogate why the public housing policy cannot solve migrant housing problems and what neoliberalism means in housing provision. It is argued that the neoliberal approaches embedded in public rental housing implementation show that the government prioritises public rental housing for the middle class, which is considered important to the economy, and ignores the others. The prioritisation gives rise to the failure of providing affordable housing to peasant migrant workers. Living in safe and affordable housing is vital to their well-being and the sustainable economic growth in urban China. Policy advice is addressed in the conclusion.
    Keywords: public housing policies;peasant migrant workers;participant observation;neoliberalism;China
    Date: 2015–01–28

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