nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2019‒01‒07
ten papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. Personality traits, migration intentions, and cultural distance By Fouarge, Didier; Özer, Merve Nezihe; Seegers, Philipp
  2. There and Back Again: A Simple Theory of Planned Return Migration By Florian Knauth; Jens Wrona
  3. The Economic and Fiscal Effects of Granting Refugees Formal Labor Market Access By Michael Clemens; Cindy Huang; Jimmy Graham
  4. The Impact of Mass Migration of Syrians on the Turkish Labor Market By Ege Aksu; Refik Erzan; Murat Guray Kirdar
  5. Temporary International Migration and Shocks: Analysis using panel data By Tanika Chakraborty; Manish Pandey
  6. Immigration and Wage Dynamics: Evidence from the Mexican Peso Crisis By Monras, Joan
  7. Immigrants' Wage Performance in a Routine Biased Technological Change Era: France 1994-2012 By Catherine Laffineur; Eva Moreno Galbis; Jeremy Tanguy; Ahmed Tritah
  8. Immigration and anti-immigrant sentiments: Evidence from the 2017 German parliamentary election By Kellermann, Kim Leonie; Winter, Simon
  9. Land tenure security and internal migration in Tanzania By Tseday Jemaneh Mekasha; Wilhelm Ngasamiaku; Remidius D. Ruhinduka; Finn Tarp
  10. Regional integration and migration between low-and-middle-income countries: Regional initiatives need to be strengthened By Schneiderheinze, Claas; Dick, Eva; Lücke, Matthias; Rahim, Afaf; Schraven, Benjamin; Villa, Matteo

  1. By: Fouarge, Didier (ROA / Dynamics of the labour market); Özer, Merve Nezihe (General Economics 0 (Onderwijs)); Seegers, Philipp (General Economics 2 (Macro))
    Abstract: Personality traits are influential in individual decision-making but have been overlooked in economic models of migration. This paper investigates the relation between Big Five personality traits and individuals’ migration intentions among alternative destinations that vary in their culture distance. We hypothesize that Big Five personality traits may alter individuals’ migration decision and destination choice through their influence on perceived psychic costs and benefits of migration. We test our hypotheses using the Fachkraft survey conducted among university students in Germany. We find that extraversion and openness are positively associated with migration intentions, while agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability negatively relate to migration intentions. We show that openness positively and extraversion negatively relate to the willingness to move to culturally distant countries even when we control for geographic distance and economic differences between countries. Using language as a cultural distance indicator provides evidence that extravert individuals are less likely to prefer linguistically distant countries while agreeable individuals are more inclined to consider such countries as alternative destinations.
    Keywords: migration intention, destination choice, cultural distance, Big Five personality traits
    JEL: D91 J61 Z10
    Date: 2018–12–18
  2. By: Florian Knauth; Jens Wrona
    Abstract: We present supportive empirical evidence and a new theoretical explanation for the negative selection into planned return migration between similar regions in Germany. In our model costly temporary and permanent migration are used as imperfect signals to indicate workers’ high but otherwise unobservable skills. Production thereby takes place in teams with individual skills as strategic complements. Wages therefore are determined by team performance and not by individual skill, which is why migration inflicts a wage loss on all workers, who expect the quality of their co-workers to decline. In order to internalise this negative migration externality, which leads to sub-optimally high levels of temporary and permanent migration in a laissezfaire equilibrium, we propose a mix of two policy instruments, which reduce initial outmigration while at the same time inducing later return migration.
    Keywords: return migration, signalling, selection, strategic complementarity, matching
    JEL: R23 J61 D82
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Michael Clemens (Center for Global Development); Cindy Huang (Center for Global Development); Jimmy Graham (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: There are over 25 million refugees in the world today and most of them—especially those in developing countries—do not have formal labor market access (LMA). That is, they do not have the right to work or own businesses. In this paper, we argue that granting refugees formal LMA has the potential to create substantial benefits for refugees and their hosts, including reduced vulnerability and higher incomes for refugees, improved labor market outcomes and higher incomes for natives, and positive fiscal effects for the host governments. Overall, even short of formal LMA according to our definition—wherein refugees’ access to the labor market is unrestricted by the government in law and in practice—greater rights around work and business ownership enable greater benefits. Moreover, the fewer barriers there are to realizing these rights in practice—whether related to government policy or otherwise—the greater the benefits. But there may also be costs associated with granting formal LMA for certain groups in the host population and the full range of benefits is not guaranteed. The existence and magnitude of these benefits and costs is determined by key contextual factors, including the current extent of informal LMA for refugees, characteristics of the labor market, the skill and demographic profiles of refugees, the geographic location and concentration of refugees, and, crucially, policy choices and the political context. By creating and implementing policies that support vulnerable people regardless of status, help natives adjust to and benefit from changes, facilitate refugee labor market integration, and grant refugees the complementary rights that will help them succeed (such as freedom of movement), policymakers can amplify the benefits of formalization and mitigate the costs—making formal LMA a critical lever for generating positive outcomes from the presence of refugees.
    Keywords: refugees, benefits, formalization, labor market access, work rights, freedom of movement, impact, labor, wages, employment, fiscal effects, productivity, CRRF, Global Compact
    JEL: J08 J24 J31 J61 O23
    Date: 2018–10–09
  4. By: Ege Aksu (The Graduate Center, CUNY, Economics); Refik Erzan (Department of Economics, Bogazici University); Murat Guray Kirdar (Department of Economics, Bogazici University)
    Abstract: We estimate the effects of the arrival of 2.5 million Syrian migrants in Turkey by the end of 2015 on the labor market outcomes of natives, using a difference-in-differences IV methodology. We show that relaxing the common-trend assumption of this methodology -unlike recent papers in the same setting- makes a substantial difference in several key outcomes. Despite the massive size of the migrant influx, no adverse effects on the average wages of men or women or on total employment of men are observed. For women, however, total employment falls -which results mainly from the elimination of part-time jobs. While the migrant influx has adverse effects on competing native workers in the informal sector, it has favorable effects on complementary workers in the formal sector. We estimate about one-to-one replacement in employment for native men in the informal sector, whereas both wage employment and wages of men in the formal sector increase. Our findings, including those on the heterogeneity of effects by age and education, are consistent with the implications of the canonical migration model. In addition, increases in prices in the product market and in capital flow to the treatment regions contribute to the rise in labor demand in the formal sector.
    Keywords: Labor Force and Employment; Wages; Immigrant Workers; Formal and Informal Sectors; Syrian Refugees; Turkey; Difference-in-differences; Instrumental Variables.
    JEL: J21 J31 J61 C26
    Date: 2018–12
  5. By: Tanika Chakraborty; Manish Pandey
    Abstract: We analyze a household’s decision to have temporary international migrants when faced with shocks. We consider a household maximization problem and derive the effects of different kinds of shocks on the migration decision. Using four waves of the Life in Kyrgyzstan panel surveys, we empirically examine these effects. We contribute to the literature by accounting for household level unobserved heterogeneity, distinguishing between onward and return migration, and examining the underlying insurance motive of migration. We find that while agricultural and household specific idiosyncratic shocks have a positive effect on the likelihood to migrate, displacement shocks have a negative effect. The difference between the effects of these shocks is explained by the dynamics of migration. While agricultural and displacement shocks affect return migration, household specific idiosyncratic shocks drive onward migration. We further find that the effect of the displacement and agricultural shocks on onward and return migration are muted when households have easier access to informal borrowing.
    Date: 2018–12
  6. By: Monras, Joan
    Abstract: How does the US labor market absorb low-skilled immigration? I address this question using the 1995 Mexican Peso Crisis, an exogenous push factor that raised Mexican migration to the US. In the short run, high-immigration locations see their low-skilled labor force increase and native low-skilled wages decrease, with an implied inverse local labor demand elasticity of at least -.7. Mexican immigration also leads to an increase in the relative price of rentals. Internal relocation dissipates this shock spatially. In the long run, the only lasting consequences are a) lower wages and employment rates for low-skilled natives who entered the labor force in high-immigration years, and b) lower housing prices in high-immigrant locations, since Mexican immigrant workers disproportionately enter the construction sector and lower construction costs. I use a quantitative dynamic spatial equilibrium many-region model to obtain the counterfactual local wage evolution absent the immigration shock, to analyze the role of unilateral state level immigrant restrictive laws, and to study the role of housing markets.
    Date: 2018–12
  7. By: Catherine Laffineur (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - UNS - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis - UCA - Université Côte d'Azur - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Eva Moreno Galbis (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Jeremy Tanguy (IREGE - Institut de Recherche en Gestion et en Economie - USMB [Université de Savoie] [Université de Chambéry] - Université Savoie Mont Blanc); Ahmed Tritah (GAINS-TEPP - UM - Le Mans Université)
    Abstract: Over the period 1994-2012, immigrants' wage growth in France has outperformed that of natives on average by more than 14 percentage points. This striking wage growth performance occurs despite similar changes in employment shares along the occupational wage ladder. In this paper we investigate the sources of immigrants' relative wage performance focusing on the role of occupational tasks. We first show that immigrants' higher wage growth is not driven by more favorable changes in general skills (measured by age, education and residence duration), and then investigate to what extent changes in task-specific returns to skills have contributed to the differential wage dynamics through two different channels: different changes in the valuation of skills ("price effect") and different occupational sorting ("quantity effect"). We find that the wage growth premium of immigrants is not explained by different changes in returns to skills across occupational tasks but rather by the progressive reallocation of immigrants towards tasks whose returns have increased over time. Immigrants seem to have taken advantage of ongoing labor demand restructuring driven by globalization and technological change. In addition im- migrants' wages have been relatively more affected by minimum wage increases, due to their higher concentration in this part of the wage distribution.
    Keywords: wage dynamics,tasks,immigrants,skills
    Date: 2018–11
  8. By: Kellermann, Kim Leonie; Winter, Simon
    Abstract: We empirically examine the relationship between shares of foreigners in a district and the share of votes cast in that district for the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), the major anti-immigrant party in the 2017 German parliamentary election. The classic theory on the political economy of migration supposes that immigration fosters opposing sentiments among the natives due to fiercer competition for jobs, housing and public goods. Notably, the vote distribution in the 2017 election suggests that AfD vote shares are higher in districts with fewer foreign inhabitants. We exploit administrative data on election results and district-specific features to study a potentially causal effect. As the share of foreigners in a district may be endogenous, we apply an IV approach, using the number of working permits as an instrument for the share of foreign residents. Our results corroborate the Contact Theory, which states that more intensive exposure to and contact with immigrants reduce the propensity for anti-immigrant voting. We find that a 10 % increase in the population share of foreigners is associated with a 2.6 % lower vote share for the AfD. By contrast, a strong increase in the number of asylum seekers positively adds to AfD support.
    Keywords: migration,anti-immigrant parties,contact theory,ethnic competition,economic competition
    JEL: D72 D91 J15
    Date: 2018
  9. By: Tseday Jemaneh Mekasha; Wilhelm Ngasamiaku; Remidius D. Ruhinduka; Finn Tarp
    Abstract: In this paper we study the impact of tenure security on rural to urban migration of household members over the age of 15. Using three waves of the Tanzanian National Panel Survey (NPS) data, we show that tenure security is associated with lower probability of migration in rural Tanzania. This result is consistent with the idea that better property rights over agricultural land in rural Tanzania, by easing the fear of expropriation of land holdings, can induce households to retain more of their members. The result is found to be robust to different specifications and estimation techniques. Promoting land tenure security is a key policy concern in curbing rural– urban migration at early stages of development.
    Date: 2018
  10. By: Schneiderheinze, Claas; Dick, Eva; Lücke, Matthias; Rahim, Afaf; Schraven, Benjamin; Villa, Matteo
    Abstract: Regional migration within Africa and other developing regions is vital for the economic development of countries of origin and destination and for the welfare of migrants and their families (as recognized by the Sustainable Development Goal 10.7). Going forward, regional migration will be a crucial tool for countries of origin and destination to adapt to demographic trends and environmental changes. Although regional organizations have invested increasing efforts in the promotion of orderly, safe and regular migration, they have received scant acknowledgment in international policies and processes. Yet, they are the most important and most promising entities to promote more liberal migration regimes. The international community, and G20 countries in particular, should support capacity building for these regional organizations and involve them fully in relevant policy dialogues.
    Keywords: international migration governance,regional migration,regional integration,African migration
    JEL: F22 F55 O19
    Date: 2018

This nep-mig issue is ©2019 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.