nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2019‒02‒25
sixteen papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. Motherhood, Migration, and Self-Employment of College Graduates By Cai, Zhengyu; Stephens, Heather M.; Winters, John V.
  2. The Logic of Fear - Populism and Media Coverage of Immigrant Crimes By Couttenier, Mathieu; Hatte, Sophie; Thoenig, Mathias; Vlachos, Stephanos
  3. Fighting Mobile Crime By Crinò, Rosario; Immordino, Giovanni; Piccolo, Salvatore
  4. Migrants, Ancestors, and Foreign Investments By Konrad Burchardi; Thomas Chaney; Tarek A. Hassan
  5. Who Goes on Disability When Times Are Tough? The Role of Social Costs of Take-Up Among Immigrants By Furtado, Delia; Papps, Kerry L.; Theodoropoulos, Nikolaos
  6. The impact of age at arrival on education and mental health By Sander Gerritsen; Mark Kattenberg; Sonny Kuijpers
  7. The fiscal lifetime cost of receiving refugees By Joakim Ruist
  8. Immigration and Preferences for Redistribution in Europe By Alberto Alesina; Elie Murard; Hillel Rapoport
  9. Unequal Migration and Urbanisation Gains in China By Combes, Pierre-Philippe; Démurger, Sylvie; Li, Shi; Wang, Jianguo
  10. The missing ingredient: Distance. Internal migration and its long-term economic impact in the United States By Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés; von Berlepsch, Viola
  11. Monopsony Power and Guest Worker Programs By Gibbons, Eric M.; Greenman, Allie; Norlander, Peter; Sorensen, Todd A.
  12. Can public housing decrease segragation ? By Sorana Toma; Gregory Verdugo
  13. Matching Refugees to Host Country Locations Based on Preferences and Outcomes By Avidit Acharya; Kirk Bansak; Jens Hainmueller
  14. Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Innovation in the U.S. High-Tech Sector By J. David Brown; John S. Earle; Mee Jung Kim; Kyung Min Lee
  15. Measuring the Spatial Misallocation of Labor: The Returns to India-Gulf Guest Work in a Natural Experiment By Clemens, Michael A.
  16. Is There a Tradeoff between Ethnic Diversity and Redistribution? The Case of Income Assistance in Canada By Green, David A.; Riddell, W. Craig

  1. By: Cai, Zhengyu; Stephens, Heather M.; Winters, John V.
    Abstract: Women face unique challenges in starting and running their own businesses and may have differing motives to men for pursuing self-employment. Previous research suggests that married women with families value the flexibility that self-employment can offer, allowing them to balance their family responsibilities with their career aspirations. This may be especially true for college graduates, who tend to have more successful businesses. Access to childcare may also affect their labor force decisions. Using American Community Survey microdata, we examine how birth-place residence, a proxy for access to extended family and child care, relates to self-employment and hours worked for college-graduate married mothers. Our results suggest that flexibility is a major factor pulling out-migrant college-educated mothers into self-employment. Additionally, it appears that, in response to fewer childcare options, self-employed mothers away from their birth-place work fewer hours, while self-employed mothers residing in their birth place are able to work more hours per week.
    Keywords: motherhood,migration,self-employment,childcare,hours worked
    JEL: J13 J22 L26
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Couttenier, Mathieu; Hatte, Sophie; Thoenig, Mathias; Vlachos, Stephanos
    Abstract: We study how news coverage of immigrant criminality impacted municipality-level votes in the November 2009 "minaret ban" referendum in Switzerland. The campaign, successfully led by the populist Swiss People's Party, played aggressively on fears of Muslim immigration and linked Islam with terrorism and violence. We combine an exhaustive violent crime detection dataset with detailed information on crime coverage from 12 newspapers. The data allow us to quantify the extent of pre-vote media bias in the coverage of migrant criminality. We then estimate a theory-based voting equation in the cross-section of municipalities. Exploiting random variations in crime occurrences, we find a first-order, positive effect of news coverage on political support for the minaret ban. Counterfactual simulations show that, under a law forbidding newspapers to disclose a perpetrator's nationality, the vote in favor of the ban would have decreased by 5 percentage points (from 57.6% to 52.6%).
    Keywords: Immigration; populism; Violent Crimes; Vote
    JEL: D72 K42 L82 Z12
    Date: 2019–01
  3. By: Crinò, Rosario; Immordino, Giovanni; Piccolo, Salvatore
    Abstract: Two countries set their enforcement non-cooperatively to deter native and foreign individuals from committing crime in their territory. Crime is mobile, ex ante (migration) and ex post (fleeing), and criminals hiding abroad after having committed a crime in a country must be extradited back. When extradition is not too costly, countries overinvest in enforcement: insourcing foreign criminals is more costly than paying the extradition cost. When extradition is sufficiently costly, instead, a large enforcement may induce criminals to flee the country whose law they infringed. The fear of paying the extradition cost enables the countries coordinating on the efficient outcome.
    Keywords: crime; enforcement; Extradition; Fleeing; migration
    JEL: K14 K42
    Date: 2019–01
  4. By: Konrad Burchardi (Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES)); Thomas Chaney (Département d'économie); Tarek A. Hassan (Boston University)
    Abstract: We use 130 years of data on historical migrations to the U.S. to show a causal effect of the ancestry composition of U.S. counties on foreign direct investment (FDI) sent and received by local firms. To isolate the causal effect of ancestry on FDI, we build a simple reduced-form model of migrations: Migrations from a foreign country to a U.S. county at a given time depend on (1) a push factor, causing emigration from that foreign country to the entire U.S., and (2) a pull factor, causing immigration from all origins into that U.S. county. The interaction between time-series variation in origin-specific push factors and destination-specific pull factors generates quasi-random variation in the allocation of migrants across U.S. counties. We find that doubling the number of residents with ancestry from a given foreign country relative to the mean increases the probability that at least one local firm engages in FDI with that country by 4 percentage points. We present evidence that this effect is primarily driven by a reduction in information frictions, and not by better contract enforcement, taste similarities, or a convergence in factor endowments.
    Keywords: Migrations; Foreign direct investment; International trade; Networks; Social ties
    JEL: O11 J61 L14
    Date: 2018–08
  5. By: Furtado, Delia (University of Connecticut); Papps, Kerry L. (University of Bath); Theodoropoulos, Nikolaos (University of Cyprus)
    Abstract: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) take-up tends to increase during recessions. We exploit variation across immigrant groups in the non-pecuniary costs of participating in SSDI to examine the role that costs play in applicant decisions across the business cycle. We show that immigrants from country-of-origin groups that have lower participation costs are more sensitive to economic conditions than immigrants from high cost groups. These results do not seem to be driven by variation across groups in sensitivity to business cycles or eligibility for SSDI. Instead, they appear to be primarily driven by differences in work norms across origin countries.
    Keywords: disability insurance, immigrants, unemployment rates, ethnic networks
    JEL: E32 J61 H55 I18
    Date: 2019–01
  6. By: Sander Gerritsen (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis); Mark Kattenberg (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis); Sonny Kuijpers (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)
    Abstract: Given the importance of education and mental health for labor market performance, we study how these outcomes are affected by the age at which refugees arrive in the country. We identify the causal impact of age at arrival by comparing siblings who share the same family background characteristics, but arrive at different ages. Given the importance of education and mental health for labor market performance, we study how these outcomes are affected by the age at which refugees arrive in the country. We identify the causal impact of age at arrival by comparing siblings who share the same family background characteristics, but arrive at different ages. We find significant and meaningful impacts of age at arrival on educational attainment, but not on mental health. Arriving one year earlier increases the probability to obtain a higher educational degree by 3.6 percentage points. We find this impact to be stronger for girls than for boys. We do not find evidence suggesting that the impact of age at arrival becomes more pronounced after a specific age. Our findings carry important policy implications for the allocation of scarce resources available for integration of refugees as we show that refugee children who arrive at an older age will have substantially reduced educational outcomes compared to those who arrive at a younger age. This also implies that child refugees arriving via family reunification would benefit substantially from reductions in asylum application processing time, even if realized reductions are small.
    JEL: I10 I21 J61 C21
    Date: 2019–02
  7. By: Joakim Ruist (University of Gothenburg)
    Abstract: This study estimates the fiscal consequences of receiving refugees, over the refugees’ lifetime. It uses data from Sweden in 2015, and the calculations account for refugees’ age, years since immigration, and country of origin. The estimated average annual fiscal net contribution over the lifetime of the average refugee (58 years) ranges from –12 per cent of GDP per capita for refugees from the countries of origin for which labor market performance has historically been the strongest, to –22 per cent for those for which it has been the weakest. The estimates imply that if the European Union received all refugees currently in Asia and Africa, the implied average annual fiscal cost over the same time span would be at most 0.6 per cent of GDP.
    Keywords: refugees; immigration; public finances
    JEL: F22 H20 H50 J61
    Date: 2019–02
  8. By: Alberto Alesina; Elie Murard; Hillel Rapoport
    Abstract: We examine the relationship between immigration and attitudes toward redistribution using a newly assembled data set of immigrant stocks for 140 regions of 16 Western European countries. Exploiting within-country variations in the share of immigrants at the regional level, we find that native respondents display lower support for redistribution when the share of immigrants in their residence region is higher. This negative association is driven by regions of countries with relatively large Welfare States and by respondents at the center or at the right of the political spectrum. The effects are also stronger when immigrants originate from Middle-Eastern countries, are less skilled than natives, and experience more residential segregation. These results are unlikely to be driven by immigrants' endogenous location choices.
    JEL: D6 O15 P16
    Date: 2019–02
  9. By: Combes, Pierre-Philippe; Démurger, Sylvie; Li, Shi; Wang, Jianguo
    Abstract: We assess the role of internal migration and urbanisation in China on the nominal earnings of three groups of workers (rural migrants, low-skilled natives, and high-skilled natives). We estimate the impact of many city and city-industry characteristics that shape agglomeration economies, as well as migrant and human capital externalities and substitution effects. We also account for spatial sorting and reverse causality. Location matters for individual earnings, but urban gains are unequally distributed. High-skilled natives enjoy large gains from agglomeration and migrants at the city level. Both conclusions also hold, to a lesser extent, for low-skilled natives, who are only marginally negatively affected by migrants within their industry. By contrast, rural migrants slightly lose from migrants within their industry while otherwise gaining from migration and agglomeration, although less than natives. The different returns from migration and urbanisation are responsible for a large share of wage disparities in China.
    Keywords: agglomeration economies; China; human capital externalities; migrants; urban development; wage disparities
    JEL: J31 O18 O53 R12 R23
    Date: 2019–01
  10. By: Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés; von Berlepsch, Viola
    Abstract: This paper examines if internal migrants at the turn of the 20th century have influenced the long-term economic development of the counties where they settled over 100 years ago. Using Census microdata from 1880 and 1910, the distance travelled by American-born migrants between birthplace and county of residence is examined to assess its relevance for the economic development of US counties today. The settlement patterns of domestic migrants across the 48 continental states are then linked to current county-level development. Factors influencing both migration at the time and the level of development of the county today are controlled for. The results of the analysis underline the economic importance of internal migration. Counties that attracted American-born migrants more than 100 years ago are significantly richer today. Moreover, distance is crucial for the impact of internal migration on long-term economic development; the larger the distance travelled by domestic migrants, the greater the long-term economic impact on the receiving territories.
    Keywords: Counties; distance; economic development; internal migration; long-term; US
    JEL: J61 N11 O15 R23
    Date: 2019–01
  11. By: Gibbons, Eric M. (Ohio State University); Greenman, Allie (University of Nevada, Reno); Norlander, Peter (Loyola University); Sorensen, Todd A. (University of Nevada, Reno)
    Abstract: Guest workers on visas in the United States may be unable to quit bad employers due to barriers to mobility and a lack of labor market competition. Using H-1B, H-2A, and H-2B program data, we calculate the concentration of employers in geographically defined labor markets within occupations. We find that many guest workers face moderately or highly concentrated labor markets, based on federal merger scrutiny guidelines, and that concentration generally decreases wages. For example, moving from a market with an HHI of zero to a market comprised of two employers lowers H-1B worker wages approximately 10 percent, and a pure monopsony (one employer) reduces wages by 13 percent. A simulation shows that wages under pure monopsony could be 47 percent lower, suggesting that employers do not use the extent of their monopsony power. Enforcing wage regulations and decreasing barriers to mobility may better address issues of exploitation than antitrust scrutiny.
    Keywords: guest workers, migration, monopsony, market concentration
    JEL: J42 F22
    Date: 2019–01
  12. By: Sorana Toma (Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique (GENES)); Gregory Verdugo (Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques)
    Abstract: Recent decades have seen a rapid increase in the share of non-European immigrants in public housing in Europe, which has led to concern regarding the rise of ghettos in large cities. Using French census data over three decades, we examine how this increase in public housing participation has affected segregation. While segregation levels have increased moderately, on average, the number of immigrant enclaves has grown. The growth of enclaves is being driven by the large increase in non-European immigrants in the census tracts where the largest housing projects are located, both in the housing projects and the surrounding nonpublic dwellings. As a result, contemporary differences in segregation levels across metropolitan areas are being shaped by the concentration of public housing within cities, in particular the share of non-European immigrants in large housing projects constructed before the 1980s. Nevertheless, the overall effect of public housing on segregation has been ambiguous. While large projects have increased segregation, the inflows of non-European immigrants into small projects have brought many immigrants into census tracts where they have previously been rare and, thus, diminished segregation levels.
    Keywords: Social housing ; Public housing; Immigration; Segregation; France
    Date: 2018–10
  13. By: Avidit Acharya; Kirk Bansak; Jens Hainmueller
    Abstract: Facilitating the integration of refugees has become a major policy challenge in many host countries in the context of the global displacement crisis. One of the first policy decisions host countries make in the resettlement process is the assignment of refugees to locations within the country. We develop a mechanism to match refugees to locations in a way that takes into account their expected integration outcomes and their preferences over where to be settled. Our proposal is based on a priority mechanism that allows the government first to specify a threshold g for the minimum level of expected integration success that should be achieved. Refugees are then matched to locations based on their preferences subject to meeting the government's specified threshold. The mechanism is both strategy-proof and constrained efficient in that it always generates a matching that is not Pareto dominated by any other matching that respects the government's threshold. We demonstrate our approach using simulations and a real-world application to refugee data from the United States.
    Date: 2019–02
  14. By: J. David Brown; John S. Earle; Mee Jung Kim; Kyung Min Lee
    Abstract: We estimate differences in innovation behavior between foreign versus U.S.-born entrepreneurs in high-tech industries. Our data come from the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, a random sample of firms with detailed information on owner characteristics and innovation activities. We find uniformly higher rates of innovation in immigrant-owned firms for 15 of 16 different innovation measures; the only exception is for copyright/trademark. The immigrant advantage holds for older firms as well as for recent start-ups and for every level of the entrepreneur’s education. The size of the estimated immigrant-native differences in product and process innovation activities rises with detailed controls for demographic and human capital characteristics but falls for R&D and patenting. Controlling for finance, motivations, and industry reduces all coefficients, but for most measures and specifications immigrants are estimated to have a sizable advantage in innovation.
    JEL: F22 J15 J6 L26 O3 O31
    Date: 2019–02
  15. By: Clemens, Michael A. (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: 'Guest workers' earn higher wages overseas on temporary low-skill employment visas. This wage effect can quantify global inefficiencies in the pure spatial allocation of labor between poorer and richer countries. But rigorous estimates are rare, complicated by migrant self-selection. This paper tests the effects of guest work on Indian applicants to a construction job in the United Arab Emirates, where a crisis exogenously influenced job placement. Guest work raised the return to labor by a factor of four, implying large spatial inefficiency. Short-term effects on households were modest. Effects on information, debt, and later migration were incompatible with systematic fraud.
    Keywords: income, human capital, migration, labor, mobility, guest work, India, gulf, construction, worker, selection, migrant, temporary, visa, wage, education, crisis, low-skill, unskilled, credit, exploited, naive, regret, slavery, trafficking, debt, coerced, cheated
    JEL: F22 J6 O12 O16 O19
    Date: 2019–01
  16. By: Green, David A. (University of British Columbia, Vancouver); Riddell, W. Craig (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)
    Abstract: Numerous studies conclude that ethnic/cultural/racial diversity has negative impacts on interpersonal trust and support for redistributive social programs. Although some Canadian public opinion data is consistent with this view, whether these impacts on public opinion are important enough to influence policy is unclear. Many scholars argue that Canada is an exception to experience elsewhere. This paper examines this question for the case of Canadian social assistance (welfare) policies - a central component of the social safety net. We exploit two salient features of recent Canadian experience. One is dramatic growth in the ethnic and cultural diversity of Canada's immigrant inflows in recent decades, but the extent of this growth has varied substantially across regions. The second is that welfare policies vary across provinces, and the ability of the provinces to employ different approaches to welfare programs has increased since the mid-1990s. We thus examine whether provinces that became more diverse reduced the generosity of their welfare programs, relative to provinces that experienced little change in the heterogeneity of their populations. We examine impacts of immigration on welfare benefit rates of four family types: single employables, single disabled, lone parents and couples with children. Our main finding is that there is limited evidence of increased immigration on any of these types other than families with children. Even in this case the estimated effects are small. Our study thus supports the view that Canada's experience stands as an example in which greater diversity has not reduced support for redistributive social programs.
    Keywords: redistribution, social assistance, welfare, immigration, multiculturalism, ethnic diversity, interpersonal trust
    JEL: H0 I3 J6
    Date: 2019–01

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