nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2016‒01‒29
six papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. Immigrant Diversity and Complex Problem Solving By Abigail Cooke; Thomas Kemeny
  2. Internal Migration of Scientists in Russia and the USA: The Case of Applied Physics By Ekaterina L. Dyachenko
  3. Ability Drain By Maurice Schiff
  4. Periphery under Pressure: Morocco, Tunisia and the European Union’s Mobility Partnership on Migration By Mohamed Limam; Raffaella A. Del Sarto
  5. Left Behind but Doing Good? Civic Engagement in Two Post-Socialist Countries By Milena Nikolova; Monica Roman; Klaus F. Zimmermann
  6. Assessing the Social and Macroeconomic Impacts of Labour Market Integration: A Holistic Approach By Pavel Ciaian; d’Artis Kancs

  1. By: Abigail Cooke; Thomas Kemeny
    Abstract: In the growing literature exploring the links between immigrant diversity and worker productivity, recent evidence strongly suggests that diversity generates productivity improvements. However, even the most careful extant empirical work remains at some remove from the mechanisms that theory says underlie this relationship: interpersonal interaction in the service of complex problem solving. This paper aims to `stress-test' these theoretical foundations, by observing how the relationship between diversity and productivity varies across workers differently engaged in complex problem solving and interaction. Using a uniquely comprehensive matched employer-employee dataset for the United States between 1991 and 2008, this paper shows that growing immigrant diversity inside cities and workplaces offers much stronger benefits for workers intensively engaged in various forms of complex problem solving, including tasks involving high levels of innovation, creativity, and STEM. Moreover, such effects are considerably stronger for those whose work requires high levels of both problem solving and interaction.
    Keywords: immigration, diversity, complex problem solving, spillovers, productivity, human capital
    Date: 2016–01
  2. By: Ekaterina L. Dyachenko (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: When scientists change jobs they bring to their new workplace the experience, tacit knowledge and social ties they acquired at their previous workplace. Not only is the level of mobility important when discussing knowledge transfer between academic organizations or between regions, but the topology of mobility network is also of crucial importance. This study presents a comparison of the structure of internal migration networks for Russian and American physicists, more specifically for scholars working in the field of applied physics. To build a migration network, we selected physicists who had changed their city of affiliation between 2009 and 2013/2014. Data on scientists’ affiliations were obtained from the Web of Science. After the structures of two networks were compared, we formulated a hypothesis of how the features of the network are connected to the overall scientific productivity of the system
    Keywords: knowledge flows, knowledge transfer, labor mobility, scientific mobility, migrant scientists, network structure
    JEL: Z13 J61 O31
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Maurice Schiff
    Abstract: Due to paucity of data, assessing whether ability drain is economically significant is difficult, though the fact that immigrants or their children founded over 40% of the Fortune 500 US companies strongly suggests that it is. Moreover, brain-drain-induced brain gain cannot occur with ability. Nonetheless, while brain drain has been studied extensively, ability drain has not. This paper examines migration’s impact on productive human capital or ‘skill’ (s) – which includes both ability (a) and education (h) – for source country residents and migrants, under the points system (PS), which accounts for education (e.g., Canada’s pre-2015 policy), ‘vetting’ system (VS), which also accounts for ability (e.g., US H1-B visa), and ‘new’ points system (NS), a combination of PS and VS (e.g., Canada, 2015 onwards). Findings: Migration i) results in an ability drain, that is greater than the brain drain; ii) has an ambiguous (positive) impact on home country residents’ (migrants’) average education and skill (S), with a net skill drain more likely than a net brain drain; iii) these effects increase with ability’s inequality or variance V(a); iv) all effects are larger under VS than under PS (i.e., larger ability, brain and skill drain, and thus likelier net skill drain, and greater inequality of ability, education and skill; v) the policies in turn raise V(a),V(h) and V(s), with V(a)> V(h); vi) based on findings for the US, migrants’ higher ability may account for some 20% of the migrant-to-resident income gap; (vii) residents’ average consumption is lower under either policy than under a closed economy; (viii) ability’s inequality has a negative (ambiguous) impact on average consumption under the vetting (points) system, (ix) contrary to the case with education and skill, consumption inequality is lower under VS; (x) ability and education (consumption) under NS is identical to (larger than) the average of their values under PS and VS. Policy implications are provided.
    Keywords: Migration, points system, vetting system, ability drain, brain drain, and gain
    JEL: F22 J24 J61 O15
    Date: 2015–12
  4. By: Mohamed Limam; Raffaella A. Del Sarto
    Abstract: Morocco and Tunisia resisted for some time pressure from the European Union to sign readmission agreements. These agreements co-opt states into the EU’s migration governance, and include a commitment to cooperation on the expulsion of unwanted migrants in Europe. Their recent acceptance of a largely unbalanced arrangement on the issue, the Mobility Partnership, came at a crucial time in the political history of these two countries. This paper shows that the EU exploited the extremely fragile and uncertain political context after the start of the uprisings, in order to push Morocco and Tunisia to sign up to the Mobility Partnership. What is more, the EU anchored the pursuit of what is a clear EU priority in a normative discourse, effectively linking cooperation on migration to EU support for democratisation in the ‘neighbourhood’, after the Arab upheavals. The article thus highlights a concrete case in which the EU engaged in realpolitik, using norms and values strategically. However, the normative framing of EU policies also contributed to the construction of an (allegedly) normative EU identity. Hence, the article challenges simplistic notions of ‘normative power Europe’.
    Keywords: European Union, Tunisia, Morocco, migration, Mobility Partnership, Arab uprising
    Date: 2015–10
  5. By: Milena Nikolova; Monica Roman; Klaus F. Zimmermann
    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: 2016–01–19
  6. By: Pavel Ciaian (European Commission – JRC - IPTS); d’Artis Kancs (European Commission – JRC - IPTS)
    Abstract: In the age of globalisation and the knowledge economy, skill mobility is perceived as one of the key factors for fully unlocking the labour market potential. Assessing the social and macroeconomic impacts of increased skill mobility is an important though also challenging task, which requires a holistic approach. This study presents the dynamic spatial general equilibrium approach taken in the Regional Holistic Model (RHOMOLO) to better understand the relationship between education, skills, migration and economic growth. Two key channels of labour market adjustment -- upward skill mobility and spatial skill mobility -- are presented and explained in particular detail. By performing numerical simulations and conceptual analysis of labour market integration, we aim to facilitate understanding of the advantages and limitations of the approach taken in RHOMOLO, and its potential for education, skills and employment policy impact assessment. The results from our analysis suggest that a holistic approach is indeed crucial for capturing all the direct and indirect, short- and long-run effects, and it has a wide potential for assessing region-, sector- and skill-specific macroeconomic and social effects of policies aiming at integration e.g. of marginalised communities, such as Roma or refugees, into the EU labour markets.
    Keywords: Dynamic spatial general equilibrium model, skills, education, employment, labour, migration, wage, human capital.
    JEL: C68 D58 F22 J20 J61 J64 O15
    Date: 2015–12

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