nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2020‒05‒04
eight papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Population Mobility under Mild Policies: Causal Evidence from Sweden By Matz Dahlberg; Per-Anders Edin; Erik Gr\"onqvist; Johan Lyhagen; John \"Osth; Alexey Siretskiy; Marina Toger
  2. Who Benefits from Host Country Skills? Evidence of Heterogeneous Labour Market Returns to Host Country Skills by Migrant Motivation By Zwysen, Wouter; Demireva, Neli
  3. Immigration, Innovation, and Growth By Konrad B. Burchardi; Thomas Chaney; Tarek A. Hassan; Lisa Tarquinio; Steohen Terry
  4. Ageing-Driven Migration and Redistribution: Comparing Policy Regimes By Assaf Razin; Alexander Horst Schwemmer
  5. Political Integration of Foreigners How does foreigners suffrage impact natives’ attitudes? By Anna Maria Koukal; Marco Portmann
  6. Immigration and the fear of unemployment: evidence from individual perceptions in Italy By Eleonora Porreca; Alfonso Rosolia
  7. Returns to migration after job loss– the importance of job match By Orsa Kekezi; Andres Ron Boschma
  8. The Size Distribution of Cities with Distance-Bound Households By Axel Watanabe

  1. By: Matz Dahlberg; Per-Anders Edin; Erik Gr\"onqvist; Johan Lyhagen; John \"Osth; Alexey Siretskiy; Marina Toger
    Abstract: Sweden has adopted far less restrictive social distancing policies than most countries following the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper uses data on all mobile phone users, from one major Swedish mobile phone network, to examine the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak under the Swedish mild recommendations and restrictions regime on individual mobility and if changes in geographical mobility vary over different socio-economic strata. Having access to data for January-March in both 2019 and 2020 enables the estimation of causal effects of the COVID-19 outbreak by adopting a Difference-in-Differences research design. The paper reaches four main conclusions: (i) The daytime population in residential areas increased significantly (64 percent average increase); (ii) The daytime presence in industrial and commercial areas decreased significantly (33 percent average decrease); (iii) The distance individuals move from their homes during a day was substantially reduced (38 percent decrease in the maximum distance moved and 36 percent increase in share of individuals who move less than one kilometer from home); (iv) Similar reductions in mobility were found for residents in areas with different socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. These results show that mild government policies can compel people to adopt social distancing behavior.
    Date: 2020–04
  2. By: Zwysen, Wouter; Demireva, Neli
    Abstract: Despite the extensive literature on the economic incorporation of migrants, little is known about the ways in which integration patterns differ across migrants depending on their motivation for migrating (e.g. economic, family, humanitarian). These initial motivations are associated with very different outcomes in the host society. Migrants generally do better in the labour market over time as they acquire host country human capital and labour market performance-relevant skills, but does the same pattern hold for each type of migrant? Policies that aim to increase overall labour market participation should take account of the increasingly diverse migrant population in Europe. We use detailed data from the 2008 and 2014 ad hoc modules of the EU Labour Force Survey to study labour market returns to host country-relevant skills, taking into account a range of individual and contextual factors. We show these patterns differ between recent migrants: higher host-country acquisitions are associated with improved labour market outcomes, but particularly for non-economic migrants. These findings are consistent over qualification levels and persist even within the more established migrant groups.
    Date: 2020–05–01
  3. By: Konrad B. Burchardi (Institute for International Economic Studies); Thomas Chaney (Sciences Po); Tarek A. Hassan (Boston University, NBER, and CEPR); Lisa Tarquinio (Boston University); Steohen Terry (Boston University)
    Abstract: We show a causal impact of immigration on innovation and dynamism in US counties. To identify the causal impact of immigration, we use 130 years of detailed data on migrations from foreign countries to US counties to isolate quasi-random variation in the ancestry composition of US counties that results purely from the interaction of two historical forces: (i) changes over time in the relative attractiveness of different destinations within the US to the average migrant arriving at the time and (ii) the staggered timing of the arrival of migrants from different origin countries. We then use this plausibly exogenous variation in ancestry composition to predict the total number of migrants flowing into each US county in recent decades. We show four main results. First, immigration has a positive impact on innovation, measured by the patenting of local firms. Second, immigration has a positive impact on measures of local economic dynamism. Third, the positive impact of immigration on innovation percolates over space, but spatial spillovers quickly die out with distance. Fourth, the impact of immigration on innovation is stronger for more educated migrants.
    Keywords: migrations, innovation, patents, endogenous growth, dynamism
    JEL: J61 O31 O40
    Date: 2020–04
  4. By: Assaf Razin; Alexander Horst Schwemmer
    Abstract: Life cycle and insurance-type considerations dominate redistribution policy. Wage and fiscal prospects of ageing dominate migration policy. The paper compares distinct policy regimes, directed at migration and redistribution issues. Migration quotas, provision of social benefits, labor income taxation, and capital income taxation, are all endogenously determined in a policy-optimizing framework. The analysis makes a three-way comparison: free-migration regime vs. restricted-migration regime, welfare-state regime vs. no-migration-quota, no-redistribution regime, and low-income-majority regime vs. high-income-majority regime.
    JEL: F2 F22 H3 H4 J11
    Date: 2020–04
  5. By: Anna Maria Koukal; Marco Portmann
    Abstract: Today's world is characterized by globalization and international mobility, yet most democratic participation rights are still tied to traditional forms of citizenship. As a consequence, non-citizen are the largest group without franchise. We examine how citizens evaluate and react to the enfranchisement of non-citizens in Switzerland. This paper combines a novel dataset about the enfranchisement process of non-citizens with individual and aggregated data about citizens' attitudes toward non-citizens and their perception of democracy. We find evidence that citizens become more skeptical toward additional migra- tion, yet show a tendency to reduce ethnocentric attitudes toward non-citizens residing in Switzerland and are more satisfied with democracy once non-citizen are granted the right to vote.
    Date: 2020–04
  6. By: Eleonora Porreca (Bank of Italy); Alfonso Rosolia (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: We test whether natives correctly assess the effects of immigration on their own labour market opportunities. We relate self-reported job loss and job finding probabilities to the presence of foreign-born residents in a native’s neighborhood. We interpret coefficient estimates through the lens of a simple learning model that allows us to disentangle the true effect of immigration from the perception bias. Our results show that natives greatly overestimate the effects of immigrants on their likelihood of losing the current job against the lack of significant true effects; job seekers’s perceptions are instead broadly unaffected, a largely correct assessment given the failure to detect significant true effects. Overestimation of the negative effects of immigration on separation rates is very much concentrated among females, the low educated, the youths, the residents of smaller towns and employees on permanent contracts; the complementary groups appear to correctly assess that immigration has at best only modest effects. We briefly discuss the implications of these findings for the interpretation of empirical work on the labour market effects of immigration.
    Keywords: immigration, beliefs, labour market outcomes
    JEL: J2 J6 D8 D9
    Date: 2020–04
  7. By: Orsa Kekezi; Andres Ron Boschma
    Abstract: Loss of specific human capital is often identified as a mechanism for why displaced workers might experience permanent drops in earnings after job loss. Moreover, the existing research has argued that displaced workers who migrate out of their region of origin have lower earnings than those who do not. The purpose of this paper is to extend the discussion on returns to migration by accounting for the type of job people get and how related it is to their skills. Using an endogenous treatment model to control for selection bias in migration and career change, we compare displaced stayers with displaced movers in Sweden. Results show that migrants who get a job that matches their occupation- and industry-specific skills display the highest earnings compared to all displaced workers. If migration is combined with a job mismatch, negative returns to migration are instead observed. Given that job displacement is associated with high costs, understanding how the workers behave in the labor market gives insights on how to minimize the costs of losing a job for the individual, which in its turn creates implications for the society at large.
    Keywords: inter-regional migration, specific human capital, job match, displaced workers, skill relatedness
    JEL: R23 J24 J62
    Date: 2020–04
  8. By: Axel Watanabe (Concordia University and CIREQ)
    Abstract: There has been a long tradition of presumed perfect mobility in urban economics. Workers switch their locations in direct response to differences in local economic performance. Recent empirical observations prove otherwise. The number of movers rapidly declines with distance moved while there is a positive correlation between distance moved and skill level. I build a general equilibrium model of a system of cities to explain the city-size distribution as a result of reduced mobility. Workers with a heterogeneous skill level have a corresponding distance-tolerance level and self-sort into select cities. The resulting size distribution reflects the trade-off between the distance moved and earning opportunities enhanced by agglomeration. I extrapolate consumers’ tolerance towards distance and skill level from US Census data on city size and intercity migration.
    Keywords: labor mobility, internal migration, city-size distribution
    JEL: J61 R12
    Date: 2020–04–13

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