nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2017‒04‒30
eleven papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. To Migrate With or Without Ones’ Children in China - That is the Question By Yiwen Chen; Vincent Fromentin; Ioana Salagean; Benteng Zou
  2. The New Case for Migration Restrictions: An Assessment By Clemens, Michael; Pritchett, Lant
  3. Hidden Costs of Carpooling in Family Life: Travel Behavior of Hispanic Families with Children in the US By Miwa Matsuo
  4. Tradability and the Labor-Market Impact of Immigration: Theory and Evidence from the U.S. By Ariel Burstein; Gordon Hanson; Lin Tian; Jonathan Vogel
  5. Welcome Home in a Crisis: Effects of Return Migration on the Non-Migrants’ Wages and Employment By Hausmann, Ricardo; Nedelkoska, Ljubica
  6. Rural-Urban Migration and Income Disparity in Tunisia: A Decomposition Analysis By Mohamed Amara; Hatem Jemmali; Mohamed Ayadi
  7. The Earnings of Undocumented Immigrants By Borjas, George J.
  8. The Hukou Impact on the Chinese Wage Structure By Christian Dreger; Yanqun Zhang
  9. Minimum Wages and Spatial Equilibrium: Theory and Evidence By Joan Monras
  10. Productivity gains from agglomeration and migration in Chinese cities over 2002-2013 By Pierre-Philippe Combes; Sylvie Démurger; Shi Li
  11. Free digital learning opportunities for migrants and refugees: an analysis of current initiatives and recommendation for their use By Elizabeth Colucci; Hanne Smidt; Axelle Devaux; Charalambos Vrasidas; Malaz Safarjalani; Jonatan Castaño Muñoz

  1. By: Yiwen Chen (CREA, Université du Luxembourg); Vincent Fromentin (Université de Lorraine, Nancy et CREA, Luxembourg); Ioana Salagean (STATEC, Luxembourg); Benteng Zou (CREA, Université du Luxembourg)
    Abstract: Where should Chinese internal migrant parents locate their school-aged children: migrate with them or leave them behind? And should they invest in private education of their children? Empirical evidence based on the 2009 wave of the Rural-Urban Migration Survey in China (RUMiC) data is inconclusive. We use an overlapping generations model to find a theoretical optimum that maximizes parents’ utility which includes the children’s educational performance. Depending on the educational investment parents make and the relocation cost of children, we provide necessary and sufficient conditions for migrant parents to take their children to migrate and whether they should provide their children with private education. As the choices of migrant parents affect not only their children’s human capital accumulation, but also on the economic potential of their descendants, we present both short- and long-term consequences of the parents decision.
    Keywords: Migrant children; left-behind children; hukou; China; educational performance
    JEL: O15 I31 J13 R23
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Clemens, Michael (Center for Global Development, Washington, DC); Pritchett, Lant (Harvard University and Center for Global Development, Washington, DC)
    Abstract: For decades, migration economics has stressed the effects of migration restrictions on income distribution in the host country. Recently the literature has taken a new direction by estimating the costs of migration restrictions to global economic efficiency. In contrast, a new strand of research posits that migration restrictions could be not only desirably redistributive, but in fact globally efficient. This is the new economic case for migration restrictions. The case rests on the possibility that without tight restrictions on migration, migrants from poor countries could transmit low productivity ("A" or Total Factor Productivity) to rich countries--offsetting efficiency gains from the spatial reallocation of labor from low to high-productivity places. We provide a novel assessment, proposing a simple model of dynamically efficient migration under productivity transmission and calibrating it with new macro and micro data. In this model, the case for efficiency-enhancing migration barriers rests on three parameters: transmission, the degree to which origin-country total factor productivity is embodied in migrants; assimilation, the degree to which migrants' productivity determinants become like natives' over time in the host country; and congestion, the degree to which transmission and assimilation change at higher migrant stocks. On current evidence about the magnitudes of these parameters, dynamically efficient policy would not imply open borders but would imply relaxations on current restrictions. That is, the new efficiency case for some migration restrictions is empirically a case against the stringency of current restrictions.
    JEL: F22 J61 O11
    Date: 2016–12
  3. By: Miwa Matsuo (Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration (RIEB), Kobe University, Japan)
    Abstract: In the U.S., Hispanic immigrant households who have low access to private vehicles typically depend on carpooling rather than taking transit, the tendency that is not observed for immigrants of other race/ethnicity groups. Moreover, my previous paper reveals that females of Hispanic immigrants are heavily dependent on others’ mobility and delay becoming drivers, even though they seem to choose auto-dependent lifestyle at household level. These findings leave a question how much time is wasted by dependence on carpooling when many household members are transportation disadvantaged, such as children under driving age. This paper explores travel characteristics of Hispanic immigrant households with children in the following points; (1) whether they are lower mobility at household level, (2) whether adult members’ time is wasted for transporting children, and (3) whether children’s total travel time and active non-commuting trip frequency are different by the number of drivers and/or vehicles in the household, using the National Household Travel Survey data of 2009.
    Keywords: Mobility, Immigrants, Hispanics, Children, National Household Travel Survey
    Date: 2017–03
  4. By: Ariel Burstein; Gordon Hanson; Lin Tian; Jonathan Vogel
    Abstract: In this paper, we show that labor-market adjustment to immigration differs across tradable and nontradable occupations. Theoretically, we derive a simple condition under which the arrival of foreign-born labor crowds native-born workers out of (or into) immigrant-intensive jobs, thus lowering (or raising) relative wages in these occupations, and explain why this process differs within tradable versus within nontradable activities. Using data for U.S. commuting zones over the period 1980 to 2012, we find that consistent with our theory a local influx of immigrants crowds out employment of native-born workers in more relative to less immigrant-intensive nontradable jobs, but has no such effect within tradable occupations. Further analysis of occupation wage bills is consistent with adjustment to immigration within tradables occurring more through changes in output (versus changes in prices) when compared to adjustment within nontradables, thus confirming the theoretical mechanism behind differential crowding out between the two sets of jobs. We then build on these insights to construct a quantitative framework to evaluate the consequences of counterfactual changes in U.S. immigration. Reducing inflows from Latin America, which tends to send low-skilled immigrants to specific U.S. regions, raises local wages for native-born workers in more relative to less-exposed nontradable occupations by much more than for similarly differentially exposed tradable jobs. By contrast, increasing the inflow of high-skilled immigrants, who are not so concentrated geographically, causes tradables and nontradables to adjust in a more similar fashion. For the nontradable-tradable distinction in labor-market adjustment to be manifest, as we find to be the case in our empirical analysis, regional economies must vary in their exposure to an immigration shock.
    JEL: F0 J0
    Date: 2017–04
  5. By: Hausmann, Ricardo (Harvard University); Nedelkoska, Ljubica (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Albanian migrants in Greece were particularly affected by the Greek crisis, which spurred a wave of return migration that increased Albania's labor force by 5% between 2011 and 2014 alone. We study how this return migration affected the employment chances and earnings of Albanians who never migrated. We find positive effects on the wages of low-skilled non-migrants and overall positive effects on employment. The gains partially offset the sharp drop in remittances in the observed period. The employment gains are concentrated in the agricultural sector, where most return migrants engage in self-employment and entrepreneurship. Businesses run by return migrants seem to pull Albanians from non-participation, self employment and subsistence agriculture into commercial agriculture.
    JEL: J21 J23 J24 J31 J61
    Date: 2017–01
  6. By: Mohamed Amara; Hatem Jemmali (University of Tunis ElManar); Mohamed Ayadi
    Abstract: Since the 1990s, massive migration from the marginalized and unprivileged rural areas to small and big towns has been one of the most dramatic and noticeable demographic changes in Tunisia. Even though it has been the focus of abundant research over the recent decades, no study has focused on the earnings differentials between rural-urban migrants and rural stayers. This paper may be the first to investigate such differentials in the Tunisian context. It uses firstly the ELL's methodology to impute into the 2004 census data the per capita expenditures from the 2005 household survey. Then, a decomposition analysis of the welfare gap between migrants and non-migrants is performed using the Oxaca and Blinder's method. It also investigates the main determinants that drive such disparities in order to evaluate how economic and social-demographic factors contribute to the earning gap between the two groups. Our findings indicate that even though some migrants incur welfares losses, rural-urban migration increases on average the welfare of migrants. They show as well that the welfare gaps between migrants and non-migrants are mainly due to the differences in endowments. Education is found to exert the strongest influence on welfare differences and big cities, more specifically the Greater Tunis, is found to attract massively the skilled migrants and enjoy the benefit of agglomeration economies.
    Date: 2017–04–20
  7. By: Borjas, George J. (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Over 11 million undocumented persons reside in the United States, and there has been a heated debate over the impact of legislative or executive efforts to regularize the status of this population. This paper examines the determinants of earnings for undocumented workers. Using newly developed methods that impute undocumented status for foreign-born persons sampled in microdata surveys, the study documents a number of findings. First, the age-earnings profile of undocumented workers lies far below that of legal immigrants and of native workers, and is almost perfectly flat during the prime working years. Second, the unadjusted gap in the log hourly wage between undocumented workers and natives is very large (around 40 percent), but half of this gap disappears once the calculation adjusts for differences in observable socioeconomic characteristics, particularly educational attainment. Finally, the adjusted wage of undocumented workers rose rapidly in the past decade. As a result, there was a large decline in the wage penalty associated with undocumented status. The relatively small magnitude of the current wage penalty suggests that a regularization program may only have a modest impact on the wage of undocumented workers.
    JEL: J31 J61 J68
    Date: 2017–03
  8. By: Christian Dreger; Yanqun Zhang
    Abstract: Faster urbanization plays a key role in the Chinese economic transformation. However, at the Lewis turning point, the hukou institution constitutes a serious risk to the process, as it restricts the access of migrants to public services offered by cities. To attract further migration, firms started to accept a premium on top of the wage. Thus, the social discrimination introduced by the hukou system is partially compensated by the reactions of market participants, as migrant workers receive additional pay. Based on huge cross sections of private households, this paper provides insights into the size and the evolution of the wage premium. After controlling for standard wage determinants, such as sex, education, experience and ownership of firms, we find that the premium amounts to 7 percent of the hourly wage. Because of the premium, the share of non-wage labor costs is on the rise, especially for low-skilled migrants. To avoid further distortions and reduce inefficiencies, the hukou status should be unified. Migrants should obtain urban hukou as long as they live in cities. They should keep their land use rights when they are in the rural areas. Otherwise, the system could constitute a significant barrier for further urbanization. The removal of institutional bias could restore the link between wages and productivity and improve the allocation of labor.
    Keywords: Chinese economic transformation, wage premium, hukou reform
    JEL: J30 R23 C23
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Joan Monras (Département d'économie)
    Abstract: This paper introduces a spatial equilibrium model that relates earnings, employment, and internal migration responses to minimum wage increases. Population moves to or away from regions that increase minimum wages depending on the labor demand elasticity and on the financing of unemployment benefits. The empirical evidence shows that increases in minimum wages lead to increases in average wages and decreases in employment among the low-skilled. The labor demand elasticity is estimated to be above 1, in the model a necessary condition for the migration responses observed in the data. Low-skilled workers tend to leave the regions that increase minimum wages.
    Date: 2016–05
  10. By: Pierre-Philippe Combes (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, 93 chemin des Mouilles, F-69130 Ecully, France; Sciences Po, Department of Economics, 28, Rue des Saints-Pères, 75007 Paris, France. Also research fellow at the CEPR.); Sylvie Démurger (Université de Lyon, Lyon, F-69007, France ; CNRS, GATE Lyon St Etienne,F-69130 Ecully, France. Also research fellow at IZA, Bonn, Germany); Shi Li (School of Business, Beijing Normal University, China; IZA, Bonn, Germany)
    Abstract: We evaluate the evolution of productivity gains from Chinese cities over time, from 2002 to 2013. In 2002, rural migrants were exerting a strong positive externality on natives' earnings, which were also higher when access to foreign markets through access to sea was higher. In 2007 and then further in 2013, city size (employment density but also land area) has become the crucial determinant of productivity whereas market access, internal or external, plays no direct role. Rural migrants still enhance natives' earnings, though the effect is more than hal f lower than in 2002. Urban gains, and their evolution over time, are very similar on total and per hour earnings. Skilled workers and females seem to gain slightly more from cities than unskilled workers and males.
    Keywords: urban development, agglomeration economies, wage disparities, migration, China
    JEL: O18 R12 R23 J31 O53
    Date: 2017
  11. By: Elizabeth Colucci (European University Association); Hanne Smidt (European University Association); Axelle Devaux (RAND Europe); Charalambos Vrasidas (Centre for the Advancement of Research and Development in Educational Technology (CARDET)); Malaz Safarjalani; Jonatan Castaño Muñoz (European Commission – JRC)
    Abstract: The final report of MOOCs4inclusion, designed and financed by the Joint Research Center of the European Commission, summarises the research conducted for a five-month study (July-December 2016) on the efficiency and efficacy of free digital learning (FDL) offers for the integration, inclusion and further learning of migrants and refugees in Europe and in neighbourhood regions in conflict. Drawing from a literature review, focus groups with migrant/refugees (third country nationals in Europe) and interviews with representatives of selected FDL initiatives, the report assesses the success factors and limitations of FDL and draws conclusions for enhancing its efficiency and efficacy. The report also proposes a categorisation of FDL offers according to their design and purposes. Emphasis is placed on initiatives that take a ‘blended’ (online and face-to-face) and ‘facilitated’ (support services and mentoring) approach, as this was found to be optimal by both users of FDL and providers. General recommendations are provided for how the European Union and other interested actors can invest in this field, enhance synergies and design effective and efficient FDL offers for migrants/refugees in the future.
    Keywords: migration, refugees, open education MOOCs, free digital learning, e-learning
    Date: 2017–04

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.
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