nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2017‒02‒19
eighteen papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. Keepin' 'em Down on the Farm: Migration and Strategic Investment in Children's Schooling By Robert Jensen; Nolan H. Miller
  2. How Does Internal Migration Affect the Emotional Health of Elderly Parents Left-Behind? By Scheffel, Juliane; Zhang, Yiwei
  3. Native-Migrant Differences in Trading Off Wages and Workplace Safety By D’Ambrosio, Anna; Leombruni, Roberto; Razzolini, Tiziano
  4. Persistent Occupational Hierarchies among Immigrant Worker Groups in the United States Labor Market By Postepska, Agnieszka; Vella, Francis
  5. The cost of remoteness revisited By Franke, Richard
  6. The effect of land inheritance on youth employment and migration decisions: Evidence from rural Ethiopia: By Kosec, Katrina; Ghebru, Hosaena; Holtemeyer, Brian; Mueller, Valerie; Schmidt, Emily
  7. International Migration and Regional Housing Markets: Evidence from France By D'Albis, Hippolyte; Boubtane, Ekrame; Coulibaly, Dramane
  8. Immigrant Labor Market Integration across Admission Classes By Bratsberg, Bernt; Raaum, Oddbjørn; Røed, Knut
  9. The Performance of Immigrants in the German Labor Market By Robert C.M. Beyer
  10. China’s rural – urban migration: Who gains, who loses? By Stober, Emmanuel Olusegun
  11. Migration, communities-on-the-move and international innovation networks: An empirical analysis of Spanish regions By D'Ambrosio, Anna; Montresor, Sandro; Parrilli, Mario Davide; Quatraro, Francesco
  12. Migration within the EU: investigating the role of education, income differences and cultural barriers By Damiaan Persyn
  13. Immigration and the Rise of American Ingenuity By Ufuk Akcigit; John Grigsby; Tom Nicholas
  14. Openness to Concerns of Host Country Population Improves Attitudes Towards Immigrants By Stöhr, Tobias; Wichardt, Philipp C.
  15. Differences in welfare take-up between immigrants and natives By Bruckmeier, Kerstin; Wiemers, Jürgen
  16. Immigration Restrictions as Active Labor Market Policy: Evidence from the Mexican Bracero Exclusion By Michael A. Clemens; Ethan G. Lewis; Hannah M. Postel
  17. Migration in Kenya: beyond Harris-Todaro By Oyvat, Cem; wa Gĩthĩnji, Mwangi
  18. Migration, Unemployment and the Business Cycle - A Euro Area Perspective By Clemens, Marius

  1. By: Robert Jensen; Nolan H. Miller
    Abstract: In rural areas of most developing countries, intergenerational coresidence is both widespread and an important determinant of well-being for the elderly. Most parents want at least one adult child to remain at home (e.g., so they can work on the family farm or provide care and assistance around the house). However, children themselves may prefer to migrate when they grow up, and parents cannot directly prevent them from doing so. We present a model where parents may strategically limit investments in some children's education so that they will not find it optimal to migrate when they reach maturity, and will thus voluntarily choose to remain home. We provide evidence for the model’s predictions using an intervention that provided recruiting services for the business process outsourcing industry in randomly selected rural Indian villages. Because awareness of these high-paying, high education, urban jobs was limited at baseline, the intervention increased the attractiveness of migration for educated children. Consistent with the model, in response to the treatment we find declines in school enrollment among children that parents reported wanting to remain home at baseline. Children that parents want to migrate have increased enrollment, and parents want more children to migrate.
    JEL: D1 I21 J14 O12 O15
    Date: 2017–02
  2. By: Scheffel, Juliane; Zhang, Yiwei
    Abstract: The ageing population resulting from the one-child policy and the massive internal migration in China pose major challenges to elderly care in rural areas where elderly support is based on a traditional inter-generational family support mechanism. We use data from the first two waves of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study to examine how migration of an adult child affects the emotional health of elderly parents left-behind. We identify the effects by applying fixed-effects and instrumental variable regressions which both identify the effect based on different sources of variation. We find that migration significantly reduces overall life-satisfaction by 8.8 percent and leads to an 8.7 (12 percent) percent higher probability of suffering from depressive symptoms (loneliness). Emotional health outcomes drastically deteriorate with reduced emotional support. In contrast to other developing countries, remittances cannot buffer the negative effects of emotional health. As emotional health is a key determinant of the overall health status, our findings have significant impacts for rural areas.
    JEL: I15 J14 O15
    Date: 2016
  3. By: D’Ambrosio, Anna (University of Turin); Leombruni, Roberto (University of Turin); Razzolini, Tiziano (University of Siena)
    Abstract: Applying propensity score reweighting to Italian administrative data covering the period 1994-2012, we study the conditional distributions of injuries by wage of native and foreign workers and distinguish between the component that is explained by observable characteristics and the component that is instead attributable to the immigrant status. Our analyses highlight some stylized facts. Besides a substantial gap in wage and injury risk that cannot be attributed to differences in the characteristics, foreign workers face higher levels of risk by the same level of wages. The gap is significantly above the level predicted by their observable characteristics by remunerations that are close to the minimum wage level set by collective bargaining. After this threshold, injury rates decline, but less steeply for foreign workers than their observable characteristics would predict. We show that the hedonic wage model could explain the first result as a corner solution whereby workers with low wage potential are forced to accept higher levels of risk due to the lower bounds on minimum wage. The second results could simply be explained by assuming different utility functions for natives and foreigners. We also show that the hedonic wage model is compatible with the marked reduction in injury rates and in the gap that we observe in the recession years.
    Keywords: occupational injuries, propensity score reweighting, wage gap, foreign workers, Di Nardo-Fortin-Lemieux decomposition
    JEL: J28 J70
    Date: 2017–01
  4. By: Postepska, Agnieszka (Georgetown University); Vella, Francis (Georgetown University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the phenomenon of occupational hierarchies among immigrant labor groups in the United States. Using census data for 1940-2011 we document the persistent ranking of immigrant labor groups in major metropolitan areas reflected by their position in the empirical distribution of occupations based on the corresponding Duncan Socioeconomic Index values. Having established the existence and persistence of these hierarchies across regions and time we estimate a structural model of the allocation of immigrant labor to the occupational distribution on the basis of employers' perception of their perceived productivity. The model estimates suggest that while human capital characteristics are relevant determinants of location in the occupational distribution the key factor, and the cause of persistence, is the presence of immigrant networks in regional labor markets.
    Keywords: occupational hierarchies, immigrant networks, empirical distribution of occupations
    JEL: J24 J61 J62
    Date: 2017–01
  5. By: Franke, Richard
    Abstract: Redding and Sturm (2008) use the German division as a natural experiment to study the importance of market access for regional development. They show empirically that cities close to the East-West German border experienced a significant decline in population growth due to division. I argue that their results are driven by the internal migration of refugees in the 1950s rather than the loss of market access. In fact, the treatment effect estimated by Redding and Sturm (2008) disappears completely once the refugee share in 1950 and boundary changes of sample cities are taken into account.
    Keywords: Market Access,Regional Growth,Internal Migration
    JEL: F15 N94 R12 R23
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Kosec, Katrina; Ghebru, Hosaena; Holtemeyer, Brian; Mueller, Valerie; Schmidt, Emily
    Abstract: How does the amount of land youth expect to inherit affect their migration and employment decisions? This paper explores this question in the context of rural Ethiopia using panel data from 2010 and 2014. We estimate a household fixed-effects model and exploit exogenous variation in the timing of land redistributions to overcome endogenous household decisions about how much land to bequeath to descendants. We find that larger expected land inheritances significantly lower the likelihood of long-distance permanent migration and of permanent migration to urban areas during this time. Inheriting more land is also associated with a significantly higher likelihood of employment in agriculture and a lower likelihood of employment in the nonagricultural sector. Conversely, the decision to attend school is unaffected. These results appear to be most heavily driven by males and by the older half of our youth sample. We also find several mediating factors matter. Land inheritance plays a much more pronounced role in predicting rural-to-urban permanent migration and nonagricultural-sector employment in areas with less vibrant land markets and in relatively remote areas (those far from major urban centers). Overall, the results suggest that inheritance strongly influences the spatial location and strategic employment decisions of youth.
    Keywords: agriculture, employment, youth, migration,
    Date: 2016
  7. By: D'Albis, Hippolyte (University of Toulouse I); Boubtane, Ekrame (CERDI, University of Auvergne); Coulibaly, Dramane (CEPII, Paris)
    Abstract: This article examines the causal relations between non-European immigration and the characteristics of the housing market in host regions. We constructed a unique database from administrative records and used it to assess annual migration flows into France's 22 administrative regions from 1990 to 2013. We then estimated various panel VAR models, taking into account GDP per capita and the unemployment rate as the main regional economic indicators. We find that immigration has no significant effect on property prices, but that higher property prices significantly reduce immigration rates. We also find no significant relationship between immigration and social housing supply.
    Keywords: immigration, property prices, social housing, panel VAR
    JEL: E20 F22 J61
    Date: 2017–01
  8. By: Bratsberg, Bernt (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research); Raaum, Oddbjørn (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research); Røed, Knut (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)
    Abstract: We examine patterns of labor market integration across immigrant groups. The study draws on Norwegian longitudinal administrative data covering labor earnings and social insurance claims over a 25‐year period and presents a comprehensive picture of immigrant‐native employment and social insurance differentials by admission class and by years since entry. For refugees and family immigrants from low‐income source countries, we uncover encouraging signs of labor market integration during an initial period upon admission, but after just 5‐10 years, the integration process goes into reverse with widening immigrant-native employment differentials and rising rates of immigrant social insurance dependency. Yet, the analysis reveals substantial heterogeneity within admission class and points to an important role of host‐country schooling for successful immigrant labor market integration.
    Keywords: migration, refugees, assimilation, social insurance
    JEL: F22 H55 J22
    Date: 2017–01
  9. By: Robert C.M. Beyer
    Abstract: This paper uses a large survey (SOEP) to update and deepen our knowledge about the labor market performance of immigrants in Germany. It documents that immigrant workers initially earn on average 20 percent less than native workers with otherwise identical characteristics. The gap is smaller for immigrants from advanced countries, with good German language skills, and with a German degree, and larger for others. The gap declines gradually over time but at a decreasing rate and much stronger for more recent cohorts. Less success in obtaining jobs with higher occupational autonomy explains half of the wage gap. Immigrants are initially less likely to participate in the labor market and more likely to be unemployed. While participation fully converges after 20 years, immigrants always remain more likely to be unemployed than the native labor force.
    Keywords: migration, Germany, labor market, wages, unemployment, participation
    JEL: E24 F22 J15 J22 J31 J61
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Stober, Emmanuel Olusegun
    Abstract: There is a price to pay for any and every country to develop. This price can be said to have been duly paid by migrant workers in China. The benefit of such price is the stamping out of extreme poverty by 94% from 1990 – 2015. This study is embodied by the Lewis Structural Change Model and looks at China’s population control programs – the restriction on internal labor mobility, its income inequality implication and economy development. The research reveals how the sacrifices of the migrant workers payoff in reforming the economic conditions in the rural areas; this points to the reasons why the rural income and development are highly dependent on migrant remittance and why China’s economy development would not have been possible without labor migration.
    Keywords: China; Internal migration; Migrant workers; Remittance; Wages discrimination
    JEL: F24 J61 J8 O15 R23
    Date: 2016–11
  11. By: D'Ambrosio, Anna; Montresor, Sandro; Parrilli, Mario Davide; Quatraro, Francesco (University of Turin)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of migration on innovation networks between regions and foreign countries. We posit that immigrants (emigrants) act as a transnational knowledge bridge between the host (home) regions and their origin (destination) countries, reinforcing their networking in innovation and facilitating their co-inventorship. We argue that the social capital of both the hosting and the moving communities reinforces such a bridging role, along with the already recognised effect of language commonality and migrants’ human capital. By combining patent data with national data on residents and electors abroad, we apply a gravity model to the co-inventorship between Spanish provinces (NUTS3 regions) and a number of foreign countries, in different periods of the last decade. Both immigrants and emigrants are found to affect this kind of innovation networking. The social capital of both the moving and the hosting communities actually moderate this impact in a positive way. The effect of migration is stronger for more skilled migrants and with respect to non-Spanish speaking countries, pointing to a language-bridging role of migrants. Overall, individual and community aspects combine in accounting for the impact of migration on international innovation networks.
    Date: 2017–01
  12. By: Damiaan Persyn (European Commission – JRC)
    Abstract: There exist marked differences in the educational attainment of immigrants, depending on both the level and distribution of income in the country of origin and destination. This paper estimates an education-specific gravity equation for migration between European countries. Given the lack of data on migration flows by level of education, these are proxied by the difference in resident migrants by nationality and level of education, between the years 2000 and 1990. I find that highly educated individuals are more likely to migrate. They are less sensitive to geographical and cultural distance as barriers to migration, but are not unambiguously more responsive to wage differentials. Controlling for education-specific wage differences between origin and destination removes only part of the observed differences in migration behaviour between education groups.
    Keywords: International migration, Random utility model, Education
    JEL: F22 J61 O15 C25
    Date: 2017–02
  13. By: Ufuk Akcigit; John Grigsby; Tom Nicholas
    Abstract: This paper builds on the analysis in Akcigit, Grigsby, and Nicholas (2017) by using U.S. patent and Census data to examine macro and micro-level aspects of the relationship between immigration and innovation. We construct a measure of "foreign born expertise" and show that technology areas where immigrant inventors were prevalent between 1880 and 1940 experienced more patenting and citations between 1940 and 2000. We also show that immigrant inventors were more productive during their life cycle than native born inventors, although they received significantly lower levels of labor income than their native born counterparts. Overall, the contribution of foreign born inventors to US innovation was substantial, but we also find evidence of an immigrant inventor wage-gap that cannot be explained by differentials in productivity.
    JEL: N11 N12 O31 O40
    Date: 2017–02
  14. By: Stöhr, Tobias; Wichardt, Philipp C.
    Abstract: This paper reports results from a randomized questionnaire study among German citizens regarding their attitudes towards Syrian refugees. Being shown a picture of an alleged Syrian refugee the description of whom was varied, respondents were asked to indicate their attitude towards that person in various domains on a 6-point Likert-scale. Among other things, the data show that people who are more risk averse are also less sympathetic, empathic, trusting. However, once the refugee is described as being open towards concerns in the German population -- regarding cultural change, arising costs and increasing violence -- reported levels of liking and trust increase substantially, especially for risk averse people. Moreover, we find that having close non-German friends or relatives increases the willingness to interact with immigrants. Thus, the data emphasize two aspects: (1) the importance of being open for the concerns of the local population for them to be open minded, i.e.~sympathetic and trusting, and (2) the relevance of personal experience for the willingness to interact. Finally, we find that overall women are more empathic but less trusting and more hesitant regarding actual interaction.
    JEL: F22 Z10 Z12
    Date: 2016
  15. By: Bruckmeier, Kerstin; Wiemers, Jürgen
    Abstract: Research on welfare participation often shows significant differences between immigrants and natives that are often attributed to immigrants’ higher risk of welfare dependence. We study whether immigrants in Germany also differ from their German counterparts in their take-up behavior conditional on being eligible for welfare benefits. The empirical approach intends (i) to determine eligibility for welfare benefits for a representative sample of the whole population of Germany using a microsimulation model (IAB-STSM) based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) and then (ii) to estimate probit models of observed welfare benefit take-up for the sample of eligible households. Our simulation results show that non take-up rates do not differ significantly between several groups of immigrants and natives. Additionally, the probit estimations do not reveal a significant effect of being a migrant on the probability to take up entitlements. Hence, our findings suggest that after controlling for observed and unobserved household characteristics immigrants are not more prone to take up welfare benefits.
    JEL: I38 H31 C15
    Date: 2016
  16. By: Michael A. Clemens; Ethan G. Lewis; Hannah M. Postel
    Abstract: An important class of active labor market policy has received little rigorous impact evaluation: immigration barriers intended to improve the terms of employment for domestic workers by deliberately shrinking the workforce. Recent advances in the theory of endogenous technical change suggest that such policies could have limited or even perverse labor-market effects, but empirical tests are scarce. We study a natural experiment that excluded almost half a million Mexican ‘bracero’ seasonal agricultural workers from the United States, with the stated goal of raising wages and employment for domestic farm workers. We build a simple model to clarify how the labor-market effects of bracero exclusion depend on assumptions about production technology, and test it by collecting novel archival data on the bracero program that allow us to measure state-level exposure to exclusion for the first time. We cannot reject the hypothesis that bracero exclusion had no effect on U.S. agricultural wages or employment, and find that important mechanisms for this result include both adoption of less labor-intensive technologies and shifts in crop mix.
    JEL: F22 J08 J38 J61
    Date: 2017–02
  17. By: Oyvat, Cem; wa Gĩthĩnji, Mwangi
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of agrarian structures on the migration behavior and destination of rural household heads and individuals in Kenya. To explore the complexity of migration we extend the standard Harris-Todaro framework to account for land inequality and size as well as type of destination. Using logistic regressions, we show that Kenyan household heads born in districts with higher land inequality, smaller per capita land and lower per capita rural income are more likely to migrate. We show that for individuals whose incomes are squeezed by larger land inequality, migration from villages to suburban Nairobi, smaller cities, and villages in different districts could be a preferable strategy to migrating to Metro Nairobi. The impact of land inequality is more significant for male than female migration. Moreover, the level of education, age, marital status, gender, religion and distance to Nairobi play a role in migration behavior.
    Keywords: Migration; Distribution; Agrarian structures
    Date: 2017–01–25
  18. By: Clemens, Marius
    Abstract: In the recent European debt crisis, internal migration flows in the euro area reacted strongly to diverging labor market conditions. This experience points towards the prominent role of short-term business-cycle migration in the euro area and the consequent need to understand the motives behind it. Investigating the business cycle in 55 bilateral migration corridors in the euro area over the period 1980-2010, we find evidence for business cycle related fluctuations in net migration flows and the crucial role of unemployment in shaping migration patterns. While on average wage and unemployment differentials are negatively correlated with net migration, across migration corridors we document a considerable heterogeneity in both dimensions that is more pronounced for wages. In line with these findings, we built a two-country dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model of internal business cycle migration in the euro area and allow for unemployment that occurs as a consequence of labor market frictions and rigidities in both countries. Our model is able to replicate the empirical observations and explains the heterogeneity of migration corridors by differences in the type of shock that hits an economy and the relative price/wage rigidity. We contribute to the literature on the causes and consequences of temporary migration and bridge it to DSGE models with unemployment.
    JEL: E24 F22 F41
    Date: 2016

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