nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2019‒12‒02
twenty papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. Status Loss: The Burden of Positively Selected Immigrants By Engzell, Per; Ichou, Mathieu
  2. Credit Access, Migration, and Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Bangladesh By Chen, Joyce; Flatnes, Jon
  3. Commuter Couples and Careers: Moving Together for Him and Apart for Her By Murray-Close, Marta
  4. The Melting-Pot Problem? The Persistence and Convergence of Premigration Socioeconomic Status During the Age of Mass Migration By Catron, Peter
  5. Settlement Location Shapes Refugee Integration: Evidence from Post-War Germany By Braun, Sebastian Till; Dwenger, Nadja
  6. Ethnic Segregation and Native Out-Migration in Copenhagen By Stonawski, Marcin Jan; Rogne, Adrian F.; Bang, Henrik; Christensen, Henning; Lyngstad, Torkild Hovde
  7. The Welfare Magnet Hypothesis: Evidence From an Immigrant Welfare Scheme in Denmark By Ole Agersnap; Amalie Sofie Jensen; Henrik Kleven
  8. Confronting the challenge of immigrant and refugee student underachievement: Policies and practices from Canada, New Zealand and the European Union By Bilgili, Özge; Volante, Louis; Klinger, Don A.; Siegel, Melissa
  9. The Role of Institutions in the Labor Market Impact of Immigration By Foged, Mette; Hasager, Linea; Yasenov, Vasil
  10. Becoming White: How Military Service Turned Immigrants into Americans By Mazumder, Soumyajit
  11. Various Domains of Integration of Refugees and their Interrelationships: A Study of Recent Refugee Inflows in Austria By Michael Landesmann; Sandra M. Leitner
  12. Forgoing Food Assistance out of Fear: Simulating the Child Poverty Impact of a Making SNAP a Legal Liability for Immigrants By Laird, Jennifer; Santelli, Isaac; Waldfogel, Jane; Wimer, Christopher
  13. The Effect of Citizenship on the Long-Term Earnings of Marginalized Immigrants: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Switzerland By Hainmueller, Jens; Hangartner, Dominik; Ward, Dalston
  14. The Effect of Stressors and Resilience Factors on Mental Health of Recent Refugees in Austria By Isabella Buber-Ennser; Judith Kohlenberger; Michael Landesmann; Sebastian Leitner; Bernhard Rengs
  15. Production Efficiency in Small Agriculture: Do Migrant Remittances Matter?Evidence from Rural Nigeria. By ODOZI, JOHN CHIWUZULUM; Adeniyi, Oluwaosin; Yusuf, Sulaiman A.
  16. To Move Home or Move On? Investigating the Impact of Recovery Aid on Migration Status as a Potential Tool for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Aftermath of Volcanic Eruptions in Merapi, Indonesia By Muir, Jonathan A.; Cope, Michael R.; Jackson, Jorden E.; Angeningsih, Leslie R.
  17. The impact of Hurricane Maria on out-migration from Puerto Rico: Evidence from Facebook data By Alexander, Monica; Zagheni, Emilio; Polimis, Kivan
  18. Does temporary migration from rich to poor countries cause commitment to development? Evidence from quasi-random Mormon mission assignments By Crawfurd, Lee
  19. Immigration and Preferences for Greater Law Enforcement Spending in Rich Democracies By Brady, David; Fink, Joshua J
  20. Does the Implementation of the Schengen Agreement Boost Cross-Border Commuting? Evidence from Switzerland By Parenti, Angela; Tealdi, Cristina

  1. By: Engzell, Per; Ichou, Mathieu
    Abstract: Immigrants experience an ambiguous social position: on the one hand, they tend to be positively selected on resources from the origin country; on the other, they often occupy the lower rungs of the status ladder in receiving countries. This study explores the implications of this ambiguity for two important individual outcomes: subjective social status and perceived financial situation. We study the diverse sample of immigrants in the European Social Survey and use the fact that, due to country differences in educational distributions, a given education level can entail a very different rank in the sending and receiving countries. We document a robust relationship whereby immigrants who ranked higher in the origin than in the destination country see themselves as being comparatively worse off. This finding suggests that the social position before migration provides an important reference point by which immigrants judge their success in the new country.
    Date: 2019–04–23
  2. By: Chen, Joyce; Flatnes, Jon
    Abstract: We explore the impact of flooding on migration in Bangladesh and examine whether migration responses are mitigated by access to credit. Using unique data from a household survey conducted in rural Bangladesh shortly after the 1998 flood, we estimate the effect of flooding on both permanent and temporary migration. We utilize a difference-in-differences approach that relies on randomized early access to microfinance. Flood exposure is based on village-level reports of flood intensity, which can be treated as exogenous to individual households. We find that flooding led to increased temporary migration, with no effect on permanent migration. Moreover, access to credit several years earlier fully mitigates the migration effect, suggesting that credit access allows farmers to cope with severe climate events without having to migrate. Our study thus provides an important contribution to the broader literature on climate change adaptation, by demonstrating that relieving credit constraints could enhance local livelihood strategies during environmental hazards, without deterring gradual permanent migration away from vulnerable areas.
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development, Environmental Economics and Policy
    Date: 2019–11–15
  3. By: Murray-Close, Marta
    Abstract: Research on the migration patterns of couples has found that men's human capital has a larger impact than women's on family location choices, but an emerging qualitative literature shows that some couples avoid location-related tradeoffs between their careers by living apart. I propose a new method of identifying couples who live apart in the American Community Survey and use the method to construct the first nationally representative sample of matched noncohabiting husbands and wives. Consistent with previous research, I find that husbands' education has a larger impact than wives' on the probability that couples migrate together. In contrast, wives' education has a larger impact on the probability that couples live apart. I argue that family location choices are analogous to marital naming choices: husbands rarely accommodate wives, whatever their circumstances, but wives accommodate husbands unless the cost of accommodation is unusually high.
    Date: 2019–04–15
  4. By: Catron, Peter
    Abstract: A long-standing debate is concerned over how long premigration socioeconomic differences persisted for immigrants and their descendants who entered at the turn-of-the-twentieth century. Some researchers argue that differences exist today, over 100 years after first arrival, while others argue that most differences disappeared after the third generation. However, none of this research has directly measured pre-migration socioeconomic status nor has it directly linked immigrants to their children. I create a new panel dataset that follows immigrants and their children from the sending country through settlement. Specifically, I link ship manifest records to census records to track how long premigration socioeconomic differences persist across generations. Passenger records provide a wealth of information of individuals including the occupation before arrival. I analyze how long premigration differences persist within and between groups. Whereas premigration socioeconomic status is associated with the first generation’s economic outcomes after settlement, many of these differences disappear by the second generation. These results suggest that background is not destiny for immigrant descendants. As scholars and politicians debate about whether countries should admit primarily high-skilled or low-skilled immigrants, the results from this article tell us whether such selection policies are necessary to ensure strong migrants’ performance in a period of open borders.
    Date: 2018–12–03
  5. By: Braun, Sebastian Till (University of Bayreuth); Dwenger, Nadja (DIW Berlin)
    Abstract: Following one of the largest displacements in human history, almost eight million forced migrants arrived in West Germany after WWII. We study empirically how the settlement location of migrants affected their economic, social and political integration in West Germany. We first document large differences in integration outcomes across West German counties. We then show that high inflows of migrants and a large agrarian base hampered integration. Religious differences between migrants and natives had no effect on economic integration. Yet, they decreased intermarriage rates and strengthened anti-migrant parties. Based on our estimates, we simulate the regional distribution of migrants that maximizes their labor force participation. Inner-German migration in the 1950s brought the actual distribution closer to its optimum.
    Keywords: forced migration, regional integration, post-war Germany
    JEL: N34 J15 J61
    Date: 2019–11
  6. By: Stonawski, Marcin Jan; Rogne, Adrian F.; Bang, Henrik; Christensen, Henning; Lyngstad, Torkild Hovde
    Abstract: We study how the local concentration of ethnic minorities relates to natives’ likelihood of out- migration in the capital of Denmark. In US studies, a high or increasing proportion of racial or ethnic minorities in inner city neighborhoods is seen as the prime motivation for ‘white flight;’ White middle-class families moving towards racially and ethnically homogeneous suburbs. The relatively egalitarian Scandinavian setting offers a contrasting case, where inner cities are less deprived, and where minority groups primarily consist of immigrants and children of immigrants that have arrived over the past few decades. Using rich, population-wide, longitudinal administrative data over a twelve-year period, linked to exact coordinates on places of residence, we document how the geographical distribution of minorities within Copenhagen relates to native out-migration. We observe increasing out-migration among the native majority population from areas with high and increasing minority concentrations, largely supporting the hypothesis of a ‘native flight’ mobility pattern.
    Date: 2019–01–23
  7. By: Ole Agersnap; Amalie Sofie Jensen; Henrik Kleven
    Abstract: We study the effects of welfare generosity on international migration using a series of large changes in welfare benefits for immigrants in Denmark. The first change, implemented in 2002, lowered benefits for immigrants from outside the EU by about 50%, with no changes for natives or immigrants from inside the EU. The policy was later repealed and re-introduced. The differential treatment of immigrants from inside and outside the EU, and of different types of non-EU immigrants, allows for a quasi-experimental research design. We find sizeable effects: the benefit reduction reduced the net flow of immigrants by about 5,000 people per year, or 3.7 percent of the stock of treated immigrants, and the subsequent repeal of the policy reversed the effect almost exactly. Our study provides some of the first causal evidence on the widely debated “welfare magnet” hypothesis. While there are many non-welfare factors that matter for migration decisions, our evidence implies that, conditional on moving, the generosity of the welfare system is important for destination choices.
    JEL: H20 H31 J61
    Date: 2019–11
  8. By: Bilgili, Özge (Utrecht University); Volante, Louis (UNU-MERIT, and Brock University); Klinger, Don A. (University of Waikato); Siegel, Melissa (UNU-MERIT, and SBE, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Immigrant and refugee students consistently demonstrate a performance disadvantage when one considers their achievement against non-immigrant students. This paper examines the double- and triple-disadvantages that characterise immigrant and refugee student groups. To highlight the different levels of adversity they face, not only to socioeconomic background characteristics but also migration trajectory related factors are mentioned. Next, the paper synthesises trends from policies and practices associated with more favourable student outcomes. Concrete examples are discussed from the cases of Canada, New Zealand and the European Union. Finally, implications for policymakers, educational leaders, and schools are discussed. The paper concludes with a critical view on simply policy borrowing and calls for contextually and culturally responsive adaptation of promising policies and the implementation of new policies that effectively engage communities and enhance the skills of educators.
    Keywords: Education Policy, Student Achievement, Immigrant Students, Human Development
    JEL: O15 Z18 Z19
    Date: 2019–11–19
  9. By: Foged, Mette; Hasager, Linea; Yasenov, Vasil
    Abstract: We study the role of labor market institutions and policies in affecting the wage impact of immigration using a cross-country meta-analysis approach. We gather information on 1,548 previously reported semi-elasticities from 66 academic studies covering 20 developed countries. We supplement this dataset with country-level institutional structure and coverage data from the OECD. These include employment and wage rigidities, labor mobility, active labor market programs spending, and product market regulation. We relate estimated wage effects and institutional coverage while con- trolling for local economic conditions, immigrant skill composition, time and region fixed effects and study characteristics. Higher labor market rigidity, as brought about by more widespread institutions, regulations and policies, mitigates the effects on relative wages of high- versus low-skilled natives but exacerbates the impacts on average earnings. Overall, our results suggest that labor mar- ket institutions and policies may be effective tools in the economic absorption of foreign workers.
    Date: 2019–06–07
  10. By: Mazumder, Soumyajit
    Abstract: When do groups on the social periphery assimilate into the social core of a nation? Building on a diverse set of literatures, I argue that individual participation in military service creates a number of conditions that drive individuals to assimilate into a broader national culture. To test the theory, I focus on the case of World War I in the United States–a period that closely followed a massive wave of immigration into the United States. Using an instrumental variables strategy leveraging the exogenous timing of the war, I show that individuals of foreign, European nativity–especially, the Italians and Eastern Europeans–were more likely to assimilate into American society after serving in the U.S. military. The theory and results contribute to our understanding of the ways in which states make identity and the prospects for immigrant assimilation in an age without mass warfare.
    Date: 2019–05–06
  11. By: Michael Landesmann (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Sandra M. Leitner (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw)
    Abstract: This paper addresses the complexity of, and the interrelationships between, two important aspects of integration of refugees in Austria, namely labour market integration and social integration. While labour market integration is captured in terms of being employed as compared to being unemployed or inactive, social integration distinguishes between social networks and their ethnic composition and social capital. It identifies the key determinants of each of these domains of integration and investigates the direction as well as the size of interdependencies among them. The analysis uses a unique dataset built on the basis of a survey of about 1,600 refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran who had come to Austria since 2010. The analysis establishes an important causal link between social integration and labour market integration (i.e. employment). Both social network effects with Austrians as well as with co-ethnics are important in this context but the former is more powerful than the latter. It shows that both education and length of stay are key determinants of successful labour market integration. Furthermore, tests regarding the relevance of language command for both social and labour market integration show the strong importance of speaking and understanding German, and much less so, of writing German. Disclaimer Research for this paper was financed by the Anniversary Fund of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Project No. 17166). Support provided by Oesterreichische Nationalbank for this research is gratefully acknowledged.
    Keywords: social integration, labour market integration, refugees, migration
    JEL: J60 J15 Z10
    Date: 2019–11
  12. By: Laird, Jennifer; Santelli, Isaac; Waldfogel, Jane; Wimer, Christopher
    Abstract: "Public charge," a term used by U.S. immigration officials for more than 100 years, refers to a person who relies on, or is likely to rely on, public assistance at the government's expense. Foreign-born individuals who are deemed at high risk of becoming a public charge can be denied green cards; those outside of the U.S. can be denied entry. Current public charge policy largely applies to cash benefits. The Department of Homeland Security has proposed a regulation that will allow officials to consider the take-up risk of both cash and non-cash benefits when making public charge determinations. According to Current Population Survey (CPS) data, nearly 90% of children with immigrant parents are U.S.-born and therefore eligible for public benefits. Most of these children live in a household with at least one non-citizen. Using CPS data, we examine the potential child poverty impact of the proposed DHS public charge regulation. Our simulation results show that, depending on the chilling effect, up to 3 million U.S. citizen children could lose access to SNAP as a result of the new public charge regulation.
    Date: 2018–11–16
  13. By: Hainmueller, Jens; Hangartner, Dominik; Ward, Dalston
    Abstract: We provide evidence that citizenship catalyzes the long-term economic integration of immigrants. Despite the relevance of citizenship policy to immigrant integration, we lack a reliable understanding of the economic consequences of acquiring citizenship. To overcome non-random selection into naturalization, we exploit the quasi-random assignment of citizenship in Swiss municipalities that held referendums to decide the outcome of individual naturalization applications. Our data combines individual-level referendum results with detailed social security records from the Swiss authorities. This allows us to compare the long-term earnings of otherwise similar immigrants who barely won or lost their referendum. We find that winning Swiss citizenship in the referendum increased annual earnings by an average of approximately 5,000 U.S. dollars over the subsequent 15 years. This effect is concentrated among more marginalized immigrants.
    Date: 2019–02–14
  14. By: Isabella Buber-Ennser; Judith Kohlenberger; Michael Landesmann (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Sebastian Leitner (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Bernhard Rengs
    Abstract: Given the exposure to stressors in their home countries, during their migration and in the phase after arrival, refugees are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems. At the same time, their access to adequate healthcare and other social infrastructure might be hampered by factors such as lack of knowledge as well as cultural and language barriers. In addition to other factors, this reduces their ability to take part in social activities as well as their integration into the labour market of the host societies. We examine the prevalence of mental disorders in the refugee population from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria who arrived in Austria recently, drawing on data from a refugee survey conducted between December 2017 and April 2018 in Austria with a specific focus on Vienna, Salzburg, Graz, Linz and Innsbruck (FIMAS+INTEGRATION). We found a high share of refugees (32%) to have moderate or severe mental health problems. In particular, young refugees (15-34 years) show higher risk levels. When investigating the effects of stressors on the mental health situation, we found a positive association with e.g. experienced discrimination in Austria and the fear for partners and children left behind. In contrast, the results show a negative correlation for a couple of mitigating factors that foster resilience, i.e. proficiency in the German language, being employed (including volunteer work), having more supportive relationships and satisfaction with the housing situation. Disclaimer Research for this paper was financed by the Anniversary Fund of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Project No. 17166). Support provided by Oesterreichische Nationalbank for this research is gratefully acknowledged.
    Keywords: refugees, mental health, social integration, labour market integration
    JEL: I10 J15 F22
    Date: 2019–11
  15. By: ODOZI, JOHN CHIWUZULUM; Adeniyi, Oluwaosin; Yusuf, Sulaiman A.
    Abstract: This paper investigates how remittances flow to Nigeria from household migrants correlate with farm production efficiency of the left behind in rural areas using the Living Standard Measurement Survey data set. We applied the production frontier model from which efficiency scores for two groups of farmers were recovered: migrant households and non-migrant households. We subjected the efficiency scores to Anova and stochastic dominance analyses. Mean production efficiency for migrant households was signifcantly higher at p<0.05. Across all percentiles, migrant households had higher technical efficiency level compared to households with out migrants. Thus rejecting the hypothesis of negative production efficiency effect of migrant remittances flow to farm households. While policy programmes should promote labour mobility and remittances, it supposes a complementary policy that promote labour saving farm technologies
    Date: 2018–10–06
  16. By: Muir, Jonathan A.; Cope, Michael R.; Jackson, Jorden E.; Angeningsih, Leslie R.
    Abstract: Disasters are associated strongly with forced migration. Indeed, migration is a standard survival strategy for those facing disruptions of this kind. Such is the case with Mt. Merapi, Indonesia, where a series of eruptions occurred in 2010. Mechanisms related to forced migration in such scenarios are fairly well understood, yet it remains less clear what factors may influence return migration. Given local interest in facilitating resettlement out of hazardous areas as a means of risk reduction, we seek to better understand the extent to which recovery aid may create incentives for households to move on rather than move home. We draw upon data collected from a pilot study in the aftermath of the 2010 eruptions and use multinomial logistic regression models to explore the influence of various forms of aid on migration status. Of the various forms of aid considered, financial recovery aid provided to households was consistently associated with moving on. The combination of financial recovery aid with remittances resulted in an association with having moved on that was even stronger than just receiving financial recovery aid. Ultimately, analyses of "aid packages'" suggest that a combination of most, if not all, of the aid was relatively more effective in fostering resettlement, suggesting that while food and health recovery aid as well as remittances may not have been sufficient in and of themselves to increase resettlement, they may enhance the effect of financial recovery aid.
    Date: 2019–05–06
  17. By: Alexander, Monica; Zagheni, Emilio; Polimis, Kivan
    Abstract: Natural disasters such as hurricanes can cause substantial population out-migration. However, the magnitude of population movements is difficult to estimate using only traditional sources of migration data. We utilize data obtained from Facebook's advertising platform to estimate out-migration from Puerto Rico in the months after Hurricane Maria. We find evidence to indicate a 17.0% increase in the number of Puerto Rican migrants present in the US over the period October 2017 to January 2018. States with the biggest increases were Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, and there were disproportionately larger increases in the 15-30 age groups and for men compared to women. Additionally, we find evidence of subsequent return migration to Puerto Rico over the period January 2018 to March 2018. These results illustrate the power of complementing social media and traditional data to monitor demographic indicators over time, particularly after a shock, such as a natural disaster, to understand large changes in population characteristics.
    Date: 2019–01–28
  18. By: Crawfurd, Lee
    Abstract: Public support in rich countries for global development is critical for sustaining effective government and individual action But the causes of public support are not well understood. Temporary migration to developing countries might play a role in generating individual commitment to development, but finding exogenous variation in travel with which to identify causal effects is rare. In this paper we address this question using a natural experiment – the assignment of Mormon missionaries to two-year missions in different world regions – and test whether the attitudes and activities of returned missionaries differ. I find that assignment to a region in the global South causes returned missionaries to report greater interest in global development and poverty, but no difference in support for government aid or higher immigration, and no difference in personal donations or other involvement.
    Date: 2019–01–10
  19. By: Brady, David; Fink, Joshua J
    Abstract: Immigration to rich democracies grew substantially in the 1990s and 2000s. We investigate whether the rise of immigration influenced the novel and salient outcome of preferences for greater law enforcement spending. We propose that these preferences are consequential for policymaking, reflect popular demand for punitive social control, and represent micro-level preferences underlying the politics of criminal justice. Motivated by literatures on criminal justice politics, minority threat, and the fear of crime, we examine whether stocks and flows of immigration influence individual-level preferences for greater law enforcement spending. Using International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) data, we analyze between-country variation with multi-level models of 25 countries in 2006, and within-country variation with differences-in-differences (DD) models of 16 countries with available data in both 1996 and 2006. Both multilevel and DD models show that flows of immigration increase preferences for greater law enforcement spending. Indeed, the coefficients for immigration flows are larger than or comparable in magnitude to the coefficients for any other variable, and are robust net of homicide rates and police officers per 100,000. By contrast, the stock of immigrants is not robustly associated with preferences. The results demonstrate that rising immigration contributed to increasing public support for greater law enforcement spending.
    Date: 2019–02–27
  20. By: Parenti, Angela (University of Pisa); Tealdi, Cristina (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh)
    Abstract: In this paper we study the effects of Switzerland implementing the Schengen agreement on cross-border commuting from regions of neighbouring countries. As vehicles are allowed to cross borders without stopping and residents in border areas are granted freedom to cross borders away from fixed checkpoints, commuting costs are severely reduced. Using data from the European Labour Force Survey, we estimate that the individual probability to cross-border commute to Switzerland in response to this policy has increased among inter-regional commuters in the range between 3 and 6 percentage points, according to different model specifications. Our result is particularly important due the meaningful policy implications, in a time in which the Schengen agreement is under scrutiny and at risk of termination.
    Keywords: Schengen agreement, labour mobility, commuting costs, policy change
    JEL: D04 J61 R10 R23
    Date: 2019–11

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