nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2017‒04‒23
eleven papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. Integration of immigrants in host countries - what we know and what works By Tommaso Frattini
  2. Migration Policy: Lessons from Cooperatives By Margit Osterloh; Bruno S. Frey
  3. Migrants and the Making of America: The Short- and Long-Run Effects of Immigration during the Age of Mass Migration By Sandra Sequeira; Nathan Nunn; Nancy Qian
  4. Challenged by Migration: Europe’s Options By Constant, Amelie F.; Zimmermann, Klaus F.
  5. Wages, Wellbeing and Location: Slaving Away in Sydney or Cruising on the Gold Coast By Arthur Grimes; Judd Ormsby; Kate Preston
  6. Migration and Gender: Who Gains and in Which Ways? By Kate Preston; Arthur Grimes
  7. Highly Skilled Immigrants' Occupational Choices and the Japanese Employment System By HASHIMOTO Yuki
  8. Immigration Restrictions as Active Labor Market Policy: Evidence from the Mexican Bracero Exclusion - Working Paper 451 By Michael Clemens, Ethan Lewis, Hannah Postel
  9. The impact of hosting refugees on the intra-household allocation of tasks: A gender perspective By Isabel Ruiz; Carlos Vargas-Silva
  10. The Labor Market Effects of a Refugee Wave: Synthetic Control Method Meets the Mariel Boatlift By Peri, Giovanni; Yasenov, Vasil
  11. Occupational mismatch of immigrants in Europe: The role of education and cognitive skills By Cim, Merve; Kind, Michael Sebastian; Kleibrink, Jan

  1. By: Tommaso Frattini (Università degli Studi di Milano)
    Abstract: Integration of immigrants is at the forefront of policy concerns in many countries. This paper starts by documenting that in most European countries immigrants face significant labour market disadvantages relative to natives. Then it discusses how public policies may affect immigrants’ integration. First, we review the evidence on the effectiveness of language and introduction courses. Then, we discuss how different aspects of the migration policy framework may determine immigrants’ integration patterns. In particular, based on a review of the recent literature, we highlight the role of visa length and of predictability about migration duration in shaping migrants’ decisions on investments in country-specific human and social capital. Further, we discuss implications for refugee migration and also review the role of citizenship acquisition rules. The paper ends with an outlook of the consequences for sending countries.
    Keywords: migration policy, citizenship, refugee migration
    JEL: F22 J15 J61
    Date: 2017–04–10
  2. By: Margit Osterloh; Bruno S. Frey
    Abstract: We propose an immigration policy based the model of cooperatives. Incoming migrants have to acquire a participation certificate. In exchange, the immigrants may enter the country of choice without danger. The revenue goes to the country of the recipient nation rather than to human smugglers. The cost would be much lower than today’s efforts to secure the borders. Asylum seekers get back the money paid for the certificate. Immigration is therewith regulated more efficiently than today. Not all entrance barriers and coercive measures to prevent illegal entry would disappear. However, the pressure of illegal migrants is strongly reduced.
    Keywords: Immigration; asylum; cooperatives; participation certificates; borders
    JEL: D71 F22 F66 J46 J61
    Date: 2017–04
  3. By: Sandra Sequeira; Nathan Nunn; Nancy Qian
    Abstract: We study the effects of European immigration to the United States during the Age of Mass Migration (1850-1920) on economic prosperity today. We exploit variation in the extent of immigration across counties arising from the interaction of fluctuations in aggregate immigrant flows and the gradual expansion of the railway network across the United States. We find that locations with more historical immigration today have higher incomes, less poverty, less unemployment, higher rates of urbanization, and greater educational attainment. The long-run effects appear to arise from the persistence of sizeable short-run benefits, including greater industrialization, increased agricultural productivity, and more innovation.
    JEL: N31 N32 N61 N62 N71 N72 N91 N92
    Date: 2017–03
  4. By: Constant, Amelie F.; Zimmermann, Klaus F.
    Abstract: This paper examines the migration and labor mobility in the European Union and elaborates on their importance for the existence of the EU. Against all measures of success, the current public debate seems to suggest that the political consensus that migration is beneficial is broken. This comes with a crisis of European institutions in general. Migration and labor mobility have not been at the origin of the perceived cultural shift. The EU in its current form and ambition could perfectly survive or collapse even if it solves its migration challenge. But it will most likely collapse, if it fails to solve the mobility issue by not preserving free internal labor mobility and not establishing a joint external migration policy.
    Keywords: labor mobility,migration,European Union,refugees
    JEL: D01 D02 D61 F02 F16 F22 F66 J6
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Arthur Grimes (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research); Judd Ormsby (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research); Kate Preston (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)
    Abstract: We analyse the relationships between subjective wellbeing (SWB), wages and internal migration. Our study addresses whether people make (revealed preference) location decisions based on SWB and/or wage prospects. We present both a theoretical intertemporal location choice model and empirical analyses using the Australian longitudinal HILDA dataset. Our theory predicts considerable heterogeneity in location choices for individuals at different life stages depending on their individual characteristics, including their rate of time preference. We find a significant and sustained uplift in SWB for migrants, which holds across a range of sub-samples. By contrast, wage responses are muted albeit with heterogeneity across groups. Our theory and results show that migration decisions are considered within a life-cycle context. The estimated pronounced upturn in SWB for migrants substantiates the usefulness of SWB both as a concept for policy-makers to target and for researchers to incorporate in their studies.
    Keywords: Regional migration, wages, subjective wellbeing, non-pecuniary amenities.
    JEL: D91 H75 I31 R23
    Date: 2017–04
  6. By: Kate Preston (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research); Arthur Grimes (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)
    Abstract: Empirical studies have consistently documented that while married men tend to lead more prosperous careers after moving than before, migration tends to be disruptive for the careers of married women. However, there has been little exploration of the interaction of non-economic outcomes of migration by gender and relationship-status. We explore whether migration is followed by a change in subjective wellbeing (SWB), and how this experience differs by individuals of different gender and relationship-status. These results are compared to wage differences following migration. We further analyse how outcomes differ according to the motivation for moving, including motivations for moving of both partners in a couple relationship. Our empirical estimates use longitudinal data on internal migrants in the Australian HILDA dataset. We show that females have a stronger tendency than males to reach higher levels of SWB after moving, while males have a stronger tendency than females to increase their earnings. These gender differences are mostly not significant for single individuals, but become quite pronounced for couples. Differences tend to narrow, but do not disappear, once we account for motivations for moving of individuals and, where relevant, of their partner. In particular, those who move for work-related reasons experience higher wage incomes after moving, regardless of gender or relationship-status.
    Keywords: Migration, gender, relationship-status, subjective wellbeing, wages.
    JEL: D13 I31 J16 J22 R23
    Date: 2017–04
  7. By: HASHIMOTO Yuki
    Abstract: This paper investigates the characteristics of educated immigrants' occupational choices using microdata from the 2000 and 2010 Japanese censuses. Considering the practices of the Japanese labor market, we assume that educated immigrants who missed the timing of "port of entry" just after graduation find it difficult to join individual firms' internal labor markets, and such people have little choice but to work in Type I (professional or technical) occupations using general skills or their country-specific skills to complement Japanese workers. In contrast, we assume that educated immigrants who have lived in Japan for relatively longer or Japan-educated immigrants can choose either Type I or Type II (managerial or clerical) occupations and commit to the Japanese employment system (JES). Using data analysis, we observe striking differences between Type I and Type II immigrants. Immigrants from developed countries are more likely to work in Type I occupations while those from East Asian countries, such as Korea and China, are more likely to work in Type II occupations. This variation can be partly explained by the industry in which they concentrate, their period of stay in Japan, and their place of education (Japan or otherwise). The different nature of embeddedness in the JES also affects the networks on which workers of each type depend when they are looking for employment in a given region. While Type I immigrants are more likely to obtain a job in an area with a greater number of Japanese workers in the same industry as compared with Type II immigrants, they are less likely to work in an area with a larger population of immigrants of the same nationality. Instead their decisions on occupational location have been more affected by a highly-skilled network regardless of nationality. Also, for Type I workers, the highly-skilled immigrants' network has contrasting effects depending on economic conditions.
    Date: 2017–04
  8. By: Michael Clemens, Ethan Lewis, Hannah 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 reject the wage effect of bracero exclusion required by the model in the absence of induced technical change, and fail to reject the hypothesis that exclusion had no eect on US agricultural wages or employment. Important mechanisms for this result include both adoption of less labor-intensive technologies and shifts in crop mix.
    JEL: J08 J38 F22 J61
    Date: 2017–04
  9. By: Isabel Ruiz; Carlos Vargas-Silva
    Abstract: This paper examines whether the presence of refugees alters the intra-household allocation of tasks across genders in the hosting population. Using panel data (pre- and post-refugee inflow) from Kagera, a rural region of Tanzania, we find that the refugee shock led to women being less likely to engage in employment outside the household and more likely to engage in household chores relative to men. This is probably the result of the environmental degradation that accompanied the arrival of refugees and the additional competition for natural resources such as wood and water. However, the results differ by (pre-shock) literacy and maths skill. For women who could read and perform simple written mathematical operations the refugee shock resulted in a higher likelihood of engaging in outside employment. On the other hand, higher exposure to the refugee shock resulted in illiterate women being more likely to engage in farming and household chores.
    Date: 2017
  10. By: Peri, Giovanni (University of California, Davis); Yasenov, Vasil (University of California, Davis)
    Abstract: We apply the Synthetic Control Method to re-examine the effects of the Mariel Boatlift, a large inflow of Cubans into Miami in 1980, first studied by David Card (1990). This method improves on previous studies by choosing a control group so as to best match Miami's labor market features before the Boatlift. We also provide reliable standard errors for the inference. Using data from the larger and more precise May-ORG Current Population Survey (CPS) one finds no significant departure of wages and employment of low-skilled workers between Miami and its control after 1979. The result is robust to several checks.
    Keywords: immigration, wages, mariel boatlift, synthetic control method, measurement error
    JEL: J3 J61
    Date: 2017–03
  11. By: Cim, Merve; Kind, Michael Sebastian; Kleibrink, Jan
    Abstract: Occupational mismatch is a wide-spread phenomenon among immigrants in many European countries. Mismatch, predominantly measured in terms of education, is often regarded as a waste of human capital. Such discussions, however, ignore the imperfect comparability of international educational degrees when comparing immigrants to natives. An accurate analysis of occupational mismatch requires looking beyond internationally incomparable educational degrees and considering more comparable skill measures. Using PIAAC data, it is possible to exploit internationally comparable cognitive skill measures to analyze the presence of mismatch disparities between immigrants and natives. This allows us to examine whether overeducation implies only an apparent phenomenon or rather a genuine overqualification observed also in the form of cognitive overskilling. In this study, we analyze differences in the incidence of being overeducated and being cognitively overskilled between immigrants and natives in 11 European countries. Results show that immigrants are more likely to be overeducated than natives, while the opposite is true for being cognitively overskilled. Furthermore, significant heterogeneity among immigrants in the incidence of overeducation and cognitive overskilling can be detected.
    Keywords: Occupational mismatch,migration,education,cognitive skills
    JEL: I21 J15 J24 J71
    Date: 2017

This nep-mig issue is ©2017 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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.