nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2020‒04‒27
eleven papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. Immigrant Key Workers: Their Contribution to Europe's COVID-19 Response By Fasani, Francesco; Mazza, Jacopo
  2. A Global Dataset of Human Mobility By Ho Fai Chan; Ahmed Skali; Benno Torgler
  3. Mobile phone network and migration: evidence from Myanmar By Riccardo Ciacci; Jorge García-Hombrados; Ayesha Zainudeen
  4. Lift the Ban? Initial Employment Restrictions and Refugee Labour Market Outcomes By Francesco Fasani; Tommaso Frattini; Luigi Minale
  5. Human Capital as Engine of Growth the Role of Knowledge Transfers in Promoting Balanced Growth within and across Countries By Ehrlich, Isaac; Pei, Yun
  6. Moving from a Poor Economy to a Rich One: The Contradictory Roles of Technology and Job Tasks By Yashiv, Eran
  7. Exposure to Transit Migration, Public Attitudes and Entrepreneurship By Ajzenman, Nicolas; Aksoy, Cevat Giray; Guriev, Sergei
  8. Stop invasion! The electoral tipping point in anti-immigrant voting. By Massimo Bordignon; Matteo Gamalerio; Edoardo Slerca; Gilberto Turati
  9. Urbanization Policy and Economic Development: A Quantitative Analysis of China’s Differential Hukou Reforms By Hsu, Wen-Tai; Ma, Lin
  10. Exit, Voice and Political Change: Evidence from Swedish Mass Migration to the United States A Comment By Pettersson-Lidbom, Per
  11. The children are alright: Revisiting the impact of parental migration in the Philippines By Pajaron, Marjorie; Latinazo, Cara T.; Trinidad, Enrico G.

  1. By: Fasani, Francesco (Queen Mary, University of London); Mazza, Jacopo (European Commission, Joint Research Centre)
    Abstract: This note describes the contribution of migrant workers to the ongoing effort to keep basic services running in the Union during the COVID-19 epidemic. We quantify the prevalence of migrant workers in the so called "key professions" that the Commission and Member States have identified using the most recent wave of the EU Labour Force Survey. Our results show that migrant "key workers" are essential for critical functions in European societies.
    Keywords: migrant workers, COVID-19 epidemic, key occupations
    JEL: F22 J61 K37
    Date: 2020–04
  2. By: Ho Fai Chan; Ahmed Skali; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: In the midst of the COVID‐19 pandemic currently affecting every corner of the globe, there is a critical need for understanding and mapping human movement in order to formulate appropriate scientific and policy responses. To this end, we provide ready‐to‐use indexes of human mobility spanning 131 countries and territories and 818 sub‐national regions across a time period between 16 February 2020 to 29 March 2020. We extract these data from Google’s newly released mobility reports, which cover phone‐tracking‐based changes in mobility across several types of locations, including retail and recreation, grocery stores and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and private residences. We make these data immediately available to the scientific community and the broader public at in order to support research into the COVID‐19 pandemic.
    Date: 2020–04
  3. By: Riccardo Ciacci; Jorge García-Hombrados; Ayesha Zainudeen
    Abstract: This study explores the effect of the expansion of mobile phone signal on migrationdecisions in Myanmar. The empirical strategy proposed follows Manacorda and Tesei (2019) and Andersen et al. (2011), it uses variation in lightning frequency across spaceas an instrumental variable for the expansion of mobile phone signal. Our results suggest that longer exposure to mobile phone network decreases migration. Specifically, an increase of 1 s.d. in the time exposed to mobile phone signal diminishes the probability of household members to migrate by 17%. We find empirical evidencesuggesting that such findings are driven by the positive effects of access to mobilephone signal on labor market outcomes and on perceived well-being.
    Keywords: Burma/Myanmar, migration
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Francesco Fasani (Queen Mary University London); Tommaso Frattini (University of Milan); Luigi Minale (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: This article investigates the medium to long-term effects on refugee labour market outcomes of the temporary employment bans being imposed in many countries on recently arrived asylum seekers. Using a newly collected dataset covering almost 30 years of employment restrictions together with individual data for refugees entering European countries between 1985 and 2012, our empirical strategy exploits the geographical and temporal variation in employment bans generated by staggered introduction and removal coupled with frequent changes at the intensive margin. We find that exposure to a ban at arrival reduces refugee employment probability in postban years by 15%, an impact driven primarily by lower labour market participation. These effects are not mechanical, since we exclude refugees who may still be subject to employment restrictions, are non-linear in ban length, confirming that the very first months following arrival play a key role in shaping integration prospects, and last up to 10 years post arrival. We further demonstrate that the detrimental effects of employment bans are concentrated among less educated refugees, translate into lower occupational quality, and seem not to be driven by selective migration. Our causal estimates are robust to several identification tests accounting for the potential endogeneity of employment ban policies, including placebo analysis of non-refugee migrants and an instrumental variable strategy. To illustrate the costs of these employment restrictions, we estimate a EUR 37.6 billion output loss from the bans imposed on asylum seekers who arrived in Europe during the so-called 2015 refugee crisis.
    Date: 2020–04–15
  5. By: Ehrlich, Isaac (University at Buffalo, SUNY); Pei, Yun (University at Buffalo, SUNY)
    Abstract: Unlike physical capital, human capital has both embodied and disembodied dimensions. It can be perceived of as skill and acquired knowledge, but also as knowledge spillover effects between overlapping generations and across different skill groups within and across countries. We illustrate the roles these characteristics play in the process of economic development; the relation between income growth and income and fertility distributions; and the relevance of human capital in determining the skill distribution of immigrants in a balanced-growth global equilibrium setting. In all three illustrations, knowledge spillover effects play a key role. The analysis offers new insights for understanding the decline in fertility below population replacement rate in many developed countries; the evolution of income and fertility distributions across developing and developed countries; and the often asymmetric effects that endogenous immigration flows and their skill composition exert on the long-term net benefits from immigration to natives in source and destination countries.
    Keywords: human capital, economic growth, demographic change, endogenous immigration, income distribution
    JEL: F22 F43 J11 J24 O15
    Date: 2020–04
  6. By: Yashiv, Eran (Tel Aviv University)
    Abstract: The phenomenon of workers moving from a poor to a rich economy is high on the political agenda. When a worker moves to a richer economy, what is gained by the move? The empirical challenge in giving an answer stems from the difficulty to disentangle income differences from many other determinants. Estimates are potentially biased due to substantial misspecification of the model, when omitting relevant determinants. The paper makes use of a unique data set on Palestinian workers, working locally and in Israel, that allows to isolate the pure effects of income differences with no other relevant factors. It explicitly addresses the question of what workers newly experience in the richer economy (higher productivity), what is taken from the poorer economy (human capital), and their choices in moving (self-selection). Importantly, it encompasses the constraints placed on workers in terms of the human capital skills demanded. The findings show that income differences affecting worker choice are made up of contradictory elements. Consistently with findings in the development accounting literature, productivity differences in favor of the richer economy, due to differences in TFP and in physical capital, are sizeable and operate to raise wages for movers. But lower job task values operate to lower wages for movers, who are offered manual tasks in the rich economy. The latter loss offsets the former gain. The paper emphasizes the idea that tasks are tied to locations. Workers choose a location-wage-task 'pack,' with movers getting low rewards to the skills bundled in their job tasks.
    Keywords: movers and stayers, rich and poor economies, pure income effects, job tasks, TFP differentials, human capital differences, self-selection, skill bundle, development accounting
    JEL: E24 J24 J31 O15
    Date: 2020–04
  7. By: Ajzenman, Nicolas (São Paulo School of Economics-FGV); Aksoy, Cevat Giray (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development); Guriev, Sergei (Sciences Po, Paris)
    Abstract: Does exposure to mass migration affect economic behavior, attitudes and beliefs of natives in transit countries? In order to answer this question, we use a unique locality-level panel from the 2010 and 2016 rounds of the Life in Transition Survey and data on the main land routes taken by migrants in 18 European countries during the refugee crisis in 2015. To capture the exogenous variation in natives' exposure to transit migration, we construct an instrument that is based on the distance of each locality to the optimal routes that minimize travelling time between the main origin and destination cities. We first show that the entrepreneurial activity of natives falls considerably in localities that are more exposed to mass transit migration, compared to those located further away. We then explore the mechanisms and find that our results are likely to be explained by a decrease in the willingness to take risks as well as in the confidence in institutions. We also document an increase in the anti-migrant sentiment while attitudes towards other minorities remained unchanged. We rule out the possibility of out-migration of natives or of trade-related shocks (potentially confounded with the mass-transit migration) affecting our results. Using locality-level luminosity data, we also rule out any effect driven by changes in economic activity. Finally, we find no statistically significant effects on other labor market outcomes, such as unemployment or labor force participation.
    Keywords: migrant routes, entrepreneurship, public attitudes, political instability
    JEL: F22 L26 D91 O15 O10
    Date: 2020–04
  8. By: Massimo Bordignon (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore; Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Matteo Gamalerio; Edoardo Slerca; Gilberto Turati
    Abstract: Why do anti-immigrant political parties have more success in areas that host fewer immigrants? Using regression discontinuity design, structural breaks search methods and data from a sample of Italian municipalities, we show that the relationship between the vote shares of anti-immigrant parties and the share of immigrants follows a U-shaped curve, which exhibits a tipping-like behavior around a share of immigrants equal to 3.35 %. We estimate that the vote share of the main Italian anti-immigrant party (Lega Nord) is approximately 6 % points higher for municipalities below the threshold. Using data on local labor market characteristics and on the incomes of natives and immigrants, we provide evidence which points at the competition in the local labor market between natives and immigrants as the more plausible explanation for the electoral success of anti-immigrant parties in areas with low shares of immigrants. Alternative stories find less support in the data.
    Keywords: Migration, extreme-right parties, anti-immigrant parties, populism, tipping point, regression discontinuity design.
    JEL: D72 J61 R23
    Date: 2020–03
  9. By: Hsu, Wen-Tai (School of Economics, Singapore Management University); Ma, Lin (National University of Singapore)
    Abstract: The household registration system (hukou system) in China has hampered rural-urban mi-gration by posing large migration friction. The system has been gradually relaxed in the past few decades, but the reforms have been differential in city size and by the coastal-inland di-vide. We find a striking contrast in the migration patterns between years 2005 and 2015; rural people tended to move more to the coastal urban region in 2005, but more to the inland urban region in 2015. We calibrate a spatial quantitative model to the world economy in both years with China being divided into the rural, coastal urban, and inland urban regions. We find that alternative urbanization policies that are not differential and that are more laissez-faire would substantially improve national welfare, in magnitudes that are comparable to the welfare gains from the trade liberalization that China has put in place in the past.
    Keywords: Hukou system; household registration system; differential reform; urbanization policy; economic development; spatial quantitative analysis
    Date: 2020–03–01
  10. By: Pettersson-Lidbom, Per (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: In this comment, I revisit the question raised in Karadja and Prawitz (2019) concerning a causal relationship between mass emigration and long-run political outcomes. I find that their analysis fails to recognize that their independent variable of interest, emigration, is severely underreported since approximately 30% of all Swedish emigrants are missing from their data. As a result, their instrumental variable estimator is inconsistent due to nonclassical measurement error. Another important problem is that their instrument is unlikely to be conditionally exogenous due to insufficient control for confounders correlated with their weather-based instrument. Indeed, they fail to properly account for non-linearities in the effect of weather shocks and to control for unobserved heterogeneity at the weather station level. Correcting for the any of these problems reveals that there is no relationship between emigration and political outcomes.
    Keywords: replication; emigration; non-classical measurement error; omitted variable bias;
    JEL: D72 J61 P16
    Date: 2020–04–10
  11. By: Pajaron, Marjorie; Latinazo, Cara T.; Trinidad, Enrico G.
    Abstract: The Philippine government has focused most of its migration policy initiatives to encouraging international labour migration and protecting the rights of Filipino migrant workers. However, government interventions and aids to left-behind families and children left much to be desired. This paper aims to provide a better understanding of the impact of parental migration on the welfare of left-behind children in the Philippines so that policies can be devised to support them. This study’s analytical methods (instrumental variable analysis and propensity score matching) enable it to address several issues in migration research including endogeneity, migrant selectivity and community (regional) context, using previously unexamined nationally representative data from the Philippines. Our results suggest an overall positive impact on education, work, and temper of left-behind children. However, they tend to be more physically sickly. This warrants government attention to preclude any long-term negative health effects.
    Keywords: Parental Migration,Children’s Welfare,Instrumental Variable,PSM
    Date: 2020

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