nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2019‒11‒11
nine papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. Do Immigrants Threaten U.S. Public Safety? By Orrenius, Pia M.; Zavodny, Madeline
  2. Sources of ethnicity differences in non-cognitive development in children and adolescents By Nguyen, Ha Trong; Connelly, Luke; Le, Huong Thu; Mitrou, Francis; Taylor, Catherine L.; Zubrick, Stephen R.
  3. The influence of EU migration policy on regional free movement in the IGAD and ECOWAS regions By Castillejo, Clare
  4. The Effect of Early Childhood Education and Care Services on the Social Integration of Refugee Families By Ludovica Gambaro; Guido Neidhöfer; C. Katharina Spieß
  5. The Well-Being of Nations: Estimating Welfare from International Migration By Lee, Sanghoon; Lee, Seung Hoon; Lin, Jeffrey
  6. Literature review: drivers of migration. Why do people leave their homes? Is there an easy answer? A structured overview of migratory determinants By Kuhnt, Jana
  7. Spatial Wage Gaps and Frictional Labor Markets By Heise, Sebastian; Porzio, Tommaso
  8. Digitalisation in the lives of urban migrants: Evidence from Bogota By Martin-Shields, Charles; Camacho, Sonia; Taborda, Rodrigo; Ruhe, Constantin
  9. The Return to Big City Experience: Evidence from Danish Refugees By Eckert, Fabian; Hejlesen, Mads; Walsh, Conor

  1. By: Orrenius, Pia M. (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas); Zavodny, Madeline (University of North Florida)
    Abstract: Opponents of immigration often claim that immigrants, particularly those who are unauthorized, are more likely than U.S. natives to commit crimes and that they pose a threat to public safety. There is little evidence to support these claims. In fact, research overwhelmingly indicates that immigrants are less likely than similar U.S. natives to commit violent and property crimes, and that areas with more immigrants have similar or lower rates of violent and property crimes than areas with fewer immigrants. There are relatively few studies specifically of criminal behavior among unauthorized immigrants, but the limited research suggests that these immigrants also have a lower propensity to commit crime than their native-born peers, although possibly a higher propensity than legal immigrants. Evidence about legalization programs is consistent with these findings, indicating that a legalization program reduces crime rates. Meanwhile, increased border enforcement, which reduces unauthorized immigrant inflows, has mixed effects on crime rates. A large-scale legalization program, which is not currently under serious consideration, has more potential to improve public safety and security than several other policies that have recently been proposed or implemented.
    Keywords: crime; immigration; public safety
    JEL: J18 J61 K14
    Date: 2019–08–01
  2. By: Nguyen, Ha Trong; Connelly, Luke; Le, Huong Thu; Mitrou, Francis; Taylor, Catherine L.; Zubrick, Stephen R.
    Abstract: In most multi-cultural Anglo-Saxon countries, children of Asian immigrants have higher academic achievement than children of native-born parents. Yet, little is known about their relative non-cognitive performance. This study is the first to compare the non-cognitive skills of children of Asian immigrants and children of native-born Australian parents and seek to understand the evolution of non-cognitive skills. We find large differences in non-cognitive skill development between children of Asian immigrants and children of parents from other ethnicity groups. Furthermore, the nativity gaps in non-cognitive skills vary significantly by informants of non-cognitive skills, types of non-cognitive skills and children’s ages. According to teacher ratings, children of Asian immigrants are found to excel in almost all non-cognitive attributes, particularly after school entry ages. By contrast, Asian immigrant parents rated their children lower in some selected non-cognitive attributes and at early ages. Adopting a cumulative value-added regression model and an Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition method, this paper shows differences in initial child non-cognitive abilities, parenting styles and children’s time allocations are the most important factors explaining the ethnic non-cognitive skill gap. Moreover, ethnic differences in parenting styles and children’s time allocations both contribute to reducing the ethnic gap in non-cognitive skills. By contrast, differences in other child or household characteristics explain very little of the ethnic non-cognitive skill gap.
    Keywords: Migration,Non-cognitive skills,Time Use Diary,Second-generation Immigrants,Australia
    JEL: J13 J15 J22 J24
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Castillejo, Clare
    Abstract: Establishing free movement regimes is an ambition for most African regional economic communities, and such regimes are widely understood as important for regional integration, growth and development. However, in recent years the EU's migration policies and priorities in Africa - which are narrowly focused on stemming irregular migration to Europe - appear to be in tension with African ambitions for free movement. This paper examines how the EU's current political engagement and programming on migration in Africa is impacting on African ambitions to establish free movement regimes. It focuses first on the continental level, and then looks in-depth at two regional economic communities: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the Horn of Africa, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The paper begins by examining how free movement has featured within both EU and African migration agendas in recent years, describing how this issue has been increasingly sidelined within the EU's migration policy framework, while receiving growing attention by the African Union. The paper then discusses the impact of EU migration policies and programmes on progress towards regional free movement in the IGAD region. It finds that the EU is broadly supportive of efforts to establish an IGAD free movement regime, although in practice gives this little priority in comparison with other migration issues. The paper goes on to examine the EU's engagement in the ECOWAS region, which is strongly focused on preventing irregular migration and returning irregular migrants. It asks whether there is an innate tension between this EU agenda and the ambitions of ECOWAS to fully realise its existing free movement regime, and argues that the EU's current engagement in West Africa is actively undermining free movement. Finally, the paper discusses the differences between the EU's approach to migration and free movement in these two regions. It offers recommendations regarding how the EU can strengthen its support for free movement in both these regions, as well as more broadly in Africa.
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Ludovica Gambaro; Guido Neidhöfer; C. Katharina Spieß
    Abstract: Devising appropriate policy measures for the integration of refugees is high on the agenda of many governments. This paper focuses on the social integration of families seeking asylum in Germany between 2013 and 2016. Exploiting differences in services availability across counties as an exogenous source of variation, we evaluate the effect of early education attendance by refugee children on their parents’ integration. We find a significant and substantial positive effect, in particular on the social integration of mothers. The size of the estimate is on average around 52% and is mainly driven by improved language proficiency and employment prospects.
    Keywords: asylum seekers, refugees, childcare, early education, integration
    JEL: I26 J13 J15
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Lee, Sanghoon (University of British Columbia); Lee, Seung Hoon (Georgia Institute of Technology); Lin, Jeffrey (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)
    Abstract: The limitations of GDP as a measure of welfare are well known. We propose a new method of estimating the well-being of nations. Using gross bilateral international migration flows and a discrete choice model in which everyone in the world chooses a country in which to live, we estimate each country’s overall quality of life. Our estimates, by relying on revealed preference, complement previous estimates of economic well-being that consider only income or a small number of factors, or rely on structural assumptions about how these factors contribute to wellbeing.
    Keywords: International migration; quality of life; GDP
    JEL: D63 F22 I31 J61
    Date: 2019–08–27
  6. By: Kuhnt, Jana
    Abstract: Why do people leave their homes? This seemingly easy question requires a more complex answer. What ultimately prompts a person to leave if it is impossible to find a job due to a conflict that has destroyed all economic opportunities? Evidence suggests that the migration decision is a complex process that is dependent on a multitude of factors, such as migration governance regimes, migration and smuggler networks, access to technology, or individual characteristics such as age, gender and educational background. I use a theoretical framework to present the variety of determinants that have been put forward as influencing migration decisions at the macro-, meso-, and micro-level. This structured overview discusses their importance for different forms of migration and subsequently helps to identify gaps for further research.
    Date: 2019
  7. By: Heise, Sebastian (Federal Reserve Bank of New York); Porzio, Tommaso (Columbia Business School)
    Abstract: We develop a job-ladder model with labor reallocation across firms and space, which we design to leverage matched employer-employee data to study differences in wages and labor productivity across regions. We apply our framework to data from Germany: twenty-five years after the reunification, real wages in the East are still 26 percent lower than those in the West. We find that 60 percent of the wage gap is due to labor being paid a higher wage per efficiency unit in West Germany, and quantify three distinct barriers that prevent East Germans from migrating west to obtain a higher wage: migration costs, workers' preferences to live in their home region, and more frequent job opportunities received from home. Interpreting the data as a frictional labor market, we estimate that these spatial barriers to mobility are small, which implies that the spatial misallocation of workers between East and West Germany has at most moderate aggregate effects.
    Keywords: employment; aggregate labor productivity; labor mobility; migration
    JEL: E24 J61 O15
    Date: 2019–10–01
  8. By: Martin-Shields, Charles; Camacho, Sonia; Taborda, Rodrigo; Ruhe, Constantin
    Abstract: As increased migration, particularly to urban centres, and digitalisation play a greater role in development cooperation, more research on how these phenomena interact will become critical. Information communication technologies (ICTs) offer pathways for potentially making it easier for migrants to settle in, whether it be through e-government programmes or by accessing social networks that can help in finding housing and work. To better understand how ICTs fit into urban migrants' lives, we gathered new survey data in Bogota comparing how long-term residents, short-term residents, and Venezuelan migrants access and use ICTs. We identified a new factor that influences internet access among migrants after controlling for economic and social factors: duration of time in a neighbourhood. While migrants initially lag behind their neighbours in ICT and internet access, the longer they stay in one neighbourhood, the more likely they are to gain access to these technologies. Indeed, over time, our data shows that migrants become more likely than their neighbours to gain access to ICTs and the internet when they continue to stay in the same neighbourhood. Our results also show that uptake of e-government services remains a challenge. Citizens generally do not interact with their governments more than a few times a year, and migrants may not interact at all. Especially when working with vulnerable or "hidden" populations, development organisations need to put significant resources into education and outreach so that the populations they are trying to reach know about e-government services, and their value. The data collected in Bogota paints a potentially positive picture about using ICTs with migrants and migrant communities. By effectively engaging migrants early on and meeting basic initial needs such as housing or access to identification, development and humanitarian agencies could help migrants gain greater access to ICTs and make use of e-government platforms.
    Keywords: Migration,Digitalisation,E-government,Colombia
    Date: 2019
  9. By: Eckert, Fabian (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis); Hejlesen, Mads (Aarhus University); Walsh, Conor (Yale University)
    Abstract: We offer causal evidence of higher returns to experience in big cities. Exploiting a natural experiment that settled political refugees across labor markets in Denmark between 1986 and 1998, we find that while refugees initially earn similar wages across locations, those placed in Copenhagen exhibit 35% faster wage growth with each additional year of experience. This gap is driven primarily by differential sorting towards high-wage establishments, occupations, and industries. An estimated spatial model of earnings dynamics attributes an important role to unobserved worker ability: more able refugees transition to more productive establishments faster in Copenhagen than in other cities.
    Keywords: Agglomeration economies; Urban; Regional labor markets; Resettlement; Wage differentials
    JEL: J31 J61 R11 R12 R23
    Date: 2019–08–13

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.