nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2020‒07‒13
seventeen papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. Did increasing new refugees’ access to social housing reduce homelessness? Evidence from a quasi-experiment By Zhang, Meng Le; Cheung, Sin Yi; Phillimore, Jenny
  2. Determinants of intended return migration among refugees : A comparison of Syrian refugees in Germany and Turkey By Al Husein, N.; Wagner, N.
  3. Attitudes toward migrants in a highly impacted economy: evidence from the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan By Alrababa'h, Ala'; Williamson, Scott; Dillon, Andrea Balacar; Hangartner, Dominik; Hainmueller, Jens
  4. Cash transfers and migration: theory and evidence from a randomized controlled trial By Jules Gazeaud; Eric Mvukiyehe; Olivier Sterck
  5. Effects of International Migration on Child Schooling and Child Labour: Evidence from Nepal By Hari Sharma; John Gibson
  6. Selective Migration, Occupational Choice, and the Wage Returns to College Majors By Ransom, Tyler
  7. From Pink-Collar to Lab Coat: Cultural Persistence and Diffusion of Socialist Gender Norms By Friedman-Sokuler, Naomi; Senik, Claudia
  8. Paesani versus Paisanos: The Relative Failure of Spanish Immigrants in Buenos Aires during the Age of Mass Migration By Leticia Arroyo Abad; Noel Maurer; Blanca Sánchez-Alonso
  9. Inflation and Labor Migration: Modelling the Venezuelan Case By Ademir Rocha; Cleomar Gomes da Silva, Fernando Perobelli
  10. Preparation and Experiences of New Teachers in the Sociopolitical Context of Heightened Immigration Enforcement By Kirksey, J. Jacob
  11. Weeks after the Raid: The Immediate and Sustained Changes in Student Attendance Rates Following Immigration Arrests By Kirksey, J. Jacob
  12. Mismatch of Jobs and People: Do Migration Constraints Put Racial Minorities at a Disadvantage? By Kalee Burns; Julie L. Hotchkiss
  13. Trade Liberalization and the Great Labor Reallocation By Zi, Yuan
  14. Immigration, Legal Status and Fiscal Impact By Andri Chassamboulli; Xiangbo Liu
  15. The Impact of COVID-19 international travel restrictions on services-trade costs By Sebastian Benz; Frédéric Gonzales; Annabelle Mourougane
  16. Risk Attitudes and Human Mobility during the COVID-19 Pandemic By Ho Fai Chan; Ahmed Skali; David Savage; David Stadelmann; Benno Torgler
  17. The Great Migration of Black Americans from the US South: A Guide and Interpretation By William J. Collins

  1. By: Zhang, Meng Le; Cheung, Sin Yi; Phillimore, Jenny
    Abstract: In the UK asylum seekers are eligible for state provided accommodation whilst awaiting asylum decision. A key feature of Home Office policy is the eviction of refugees from any state provided accommodation within 28 days after being given permission to stay in the UK. Following a permission to stay new refugees face a number of difficulties including: lack of employment; prolonged processing time for national insurance numbers (essential for receiving benefits and gaining employment); and ineligibility for social housing. Due to these factors and more, new refugees are particularly at risk of being homeless. This paper uses data from the Survey of New Refugees (SNR) to estimate the causal effects of an alternative policy for housing new refugees which allows any homeless refugee to access social housing regardless of priority needs status. Our research design exploits (i) a singular policy divergence between Scotland and England caused by devolution; (ii) the random nature of the Home Office’s ‘no-choice’ asylum seeker dispersal policy; and (iii) the (obvious) relationship between homelessness and the ability to respond to postal surveys.
    Date: 2020–05–20
  2. By: Al Husein, N.; Wagner, N.
    Abstract: This study assesses whether Syrian refugees intend to return to Syria, taking account of the economic, cultural and institutional differences between their country of origin and the host country. We develop a simple theoretical model on return migration and optimal duration of stay in the host country to identify the potential trade-offs faced by refugees. We then assess the theoretical predictions empirically with a sample of 577 Syrian refugees living in Germany and Turkey. Three return scenarios are considered: (i) ever returning, (ii) returning when it is as safe in Syria as before the war, and (iii) returning within two years. Refugees in the immediately neighbouring country of Turkey are more likely to regard their stay as temporary (76%) compared to those who fled to geographically more distant Germany (55%, p-value of difference=0.000). Concerning the correlates of intended return, we observe that socio-demographic and economic characteristics tend to have limited predictive power for re-migration intentions, independent of the host country. Similarly, while refugees value freedom of speech and belief, the existence of these liberties does not feed into the return migration decision in either of the host countries. Thus, attempts to impose these values on the Assad Government are unlikely to trigger mass return movement. From a policy perspective, we analyse whether random exposure to positive or negative information regarding return migration impacts on the refugees’ intentions. We find no systematic impact on the decision to migrate back. This demonstrates that host governments cannot expect (rapid) information disseminated by refugee agencies – even if it provides support – to impact the refugees’ decision making about return. Overall, the analysis suggests that neither proximate nor distant host countries should bank on the speedy return of the Syrian refugees but should focus on refugee integration, independently of how long they intend to stay.
    Keywords: Syria, refugee, return migration, information
    Date: 2020–06–16
  3. By: Alrababa'h, Ala'; Williamson, Scott; Dillon, Andrea Balacar; Hangartner, Dominik; Hainmueller, Jens
    Abstract: With a record number of migrants moving across the globe, a burgeoning literature has explored the drivers of attitudes toward migrants. However, most major studies to date have focused on developed countries, which have relatively few migrants and substantial capacity to absorb them. We address this sample bias by conducting a large-scale representative survey of public attitudes toward Syrians in Jordan, a developing country with one of the largest shares of refugees. Our analysis indicates that neither personal nor community-level exposure to the economic impact of the refugee crisis is associated with anti-migrant sentiments among natives. Further, an embedded conjoint experiment demonstrates the relative importance of humanitarian and cultural concerns over economic ones. Taken together, our evidence weakens the case for egocentric and sociotropic economic concerns as critical drivers of anti-migrant attitudes, and demonstrates how humanitarian motives can sustain support for refugees when host and migrant cultures are similar.
    Keywords: refugees; migration; Middle East
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2020–05–21
  4. By: Jules Gazeaud; Eric Mvukiyehe; Olivier Sterck
    Abstract: Will the fast expansion of cash-based programming in developing countries increase international migration? Theoretically, cash transfers may favor international migration by relaxing liquidity, credit, and risk constraints. But transfers, especially those conditional upon staying at home, may also increase the opportunity cost of migrating abroad. This paper evaluates the impact of a cash-for-work program on migration. Randomly selected households in Comoros were offered up to US$320 in cash in exchange for their participation in public works projects. We find that the program increased migration to Mayotte – the neighboring and richer French Island – by 38 percent, from 7.8% to 10.8%. The increase in migration is explained by the alleviation of liquidity and risk constraints, and by the fact that the program did not increase the opportunity cost of migration for likely migrants.
    Keywords: Migration, cash transfers, financial constraints, risk-aversion
    JEL: J61 O12 O15 F22
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Hari Sharma (University of Waikato); John Gibson (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: In the last two decades, Nepal experienced a significant rise in work-related migration and subsequent remittance inflows. We examine the impacts on child education and child labour in a two-wave panel constructed from the 2008 Nepal Labour Force Survey and the 2010 Nepal Living Standards Survey. We use grade-specific net enrolment rates rather than the more commonly studied attendance rate, and exploit variation in destination-driven predicted migration as an instrumental variable. Migration and remittances appear to raise net enrolment of children in secondary education. The positive effect on school outcomes is complemented by a fall in child labour force participation. The effects appear larger for children aged ten and above, and seem to predominantly operate through remittances.
    Keywords: human capital; child labour; migration; school enrolment; Nepal
    JEL: E20 J22 F22 I21 O15
    Date: 2020–06–19
  6. By: Ransom, Tyler (University of Oklahoma)
    Abstract: I examine the extent to which the returns to college majors are influenced by selective migration and occupational choice across locations in the US. To quantify the role of selection, I develop and estimate an extended Roy model of migration, occupational choice, and earnings where, upon completing their education, individuals choose a location in which to live and an occupation in which to work. In order to estimate this high-dimensional choice model, I make use of machine learning methods that allow for model selection and estimation simultaneously in a non-parametric setting. I find that OLS estimates of the returns to business and STEM majors relative to education majors are biased upward by 15% on average. Using estimates of the model, I characterize the migration behavior of different college majors and find that migration flows are twice as sensitive to occupational concentration as they are towage returns.
    Keywords: college major, migration, occupation, Roy model
    JEL: I2 J3 R1
    Date: 2020–06
  7. By: Friedman-Sokuler, Naomi (Bar-Ilan University); Senik, Claudia (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 led to a massive migration wave from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) to Israel. We document the persistence and transmission of the Soviet unconventional gender norms, both vertically across generations of immigrants, and horizontally through neighborhood and school peer effects. Tracking the educational and occupational choices of a cohort of young Israeli women, we identify the persistence of two important features of the Soviet culture: the prioritization of science and technology, and the strong female attachment to paid-work. Women born in the FSU, who immigrated in infancy, are significantly more likely than natives and other immigrants to major in STEM in high school. In tertiary education, they remain over-represented in STEM, but also differ significantly from other women by their specific avoidance of study fields leading to "pink collar" jobs, such as education and social work. They also display a specific choice of work-life balance reflecting a greater commitment to paid-work. Finally, the choice patterns of native women shift towards STEM and away from traditional female study fields as the share of FSU immigrants in their lower-secondary school increases.
    Keywords: culture, gender norms, education, STEM, occupational choice, immigration, Soviet Union, Israel
    JEL: Z1 I21 J16 J24 P30
    Date: 2020–06
  8. By: Leticia Arroyo Abad (City University of New York); Noel Maurer (George Washington University); Blanca Sánchez-Alonso (Universidad San Pablo-CEU)
    Abstract: Millions of immigrants chose Argentina as the land of opportunity during the era of mass migration. Two immigrant groups, Italians and Spaniards, dominated the immigration flows. Despite higher literacy and their linguistic advantages, in Buenos Aires Spaniards fared worse when compared to Italians. By 1895, Italians enjoyed higher wages. What explains their paths in the city of Buenos Aires? We find that the Italian community capitalized upon pre-existing cultural traditions to establish denser and more effective networks to match their compatriots with economic opportunities. The more individualistic Spanish were unable to keep pace, despite their initial cultural, linguistic, and educational advantages.
    Keywords: migration, networks, Buenos Aires.
    JEL: N36 F22
    Date: 2020–06
  9. By: Ademir Rocha; Cleomar Gomes da Silva, Fernando Perobelli
    Abstract: The Venezuelan hyperinflation process has caused serious economic and social consequences. The wave of migrants and refugees fleeing the country is one of the most obvious and important faces of the problem. The objective of this paper is to develop a model that can explain labor migration flow from changes in price level and apply it to the Venezuelan reality. We make use of a theoreticalmethodological framework related to the New Economic Geography. Results from our model's simulations show that, in the short run (1-year simulation horizon), Venezuelan industrial and agricultural workers will tend to migrate to nearby countries, such as Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. However, in the long run (10-year simulation horizon), agents seem to decide based on real wage differential. This explains why industrial workers have a propensity to migrate to Chile, Panama, Peru and Mexico, while agricultural workers have an incentive to move to Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil.
    Keywords: Inflation; Migration; Venezuela; New Economic Geography
    JEL: J61 E31 R10
    Date: 2020–06–18
  10. By: Kirksey, J. Jacob (University of California, Santa Barbara)
    Abstract: Now more than ever, teacher preparation programs (TPPs) are being held accountable by policymakers to ensure teachers possess the knowledge and skills to support student success even when students experience significant challenges outside of school. For teachers of immigrant-origin students and their peers, one challenge is ensuring these students are successful, even when they are experiencing stressors in times of heightened immigration enforcement. This study examines whether new teachers experience the impacts of immigration enforcement and are prepared to support students who are impacted. Using survey data collected from seven TPPs in preservice and after one year of in-service teaching (n=473), findings suggest new teachers report experiencing impacts from immigration enforcement on their students and themselves. Results suggest discussion of immigration policy and engagement with immigrant families in preservice was linked with feelings of preparedness to support students. Differences for teachers in urban, Title I, and elementary settings are discussed.
    Date: 2020–06–12
  11. By: Kirksey, J. Jacob (University of California, Santa Barbara)
    Abstract: Recent research has shown the ways in which immigration enforcement actions can affect educational outcomes for all students, regardless of their immigrant status. One consequence of particular concern is student absenteeism, a non-academic indicator used by 37 states to evaluate school success under the Every Student Succeeds Act. However, previous research has faced data limitations on the measure of immigration enforcement and relies on aggregated measures of educational outcomes. Using weekly attendance rates of a school district as well as unique data collection on immigration arrests between 2014-18, this study used single and comparative interrupted time series analyses to quantify the immediate and sustained impacts of immigration arrests on student attendance. Findings suggest that incidents involving a greater number of immigration arrests correspond to immediate spikes in student absenteeism, as high as 11% points for certain student demographics. Additionally, the district’s attendance rate sustained a cumulative 2%-point decline following two incidents involving the greatest number of arrests. Implications for policymakers and educators are discussed.
    Date: 2020–06–12
  12. By: Kalee Burns; Julie L. Hotchkiss
    Abstract: Using the American Community Survey between 2005 and 2017, this article explores the evidence for potential migration constraints by comparing distributions of people and jobs across race and education. Using the Delta Index of dissimilarity, it illustrates a greater distributional mismatch between workers and jobs among racial minorities, relative to White non-Hispanics. This mismatch suggests greater migration constraints among racial minorities.
    Keywords: people-based; social costs; Delta Index; racial labor market disparities; mismatch; migration costs; place-based
    JEL: J15 J18 J61
    Date: 2020–06–14
  13. By: Zi, Yuan
    Abstract: The extent to which a country can benefit from trade openness crucially depends on how easily it can reallocate resources. However, we know little about the role of domestic frictions in shaping the effects of trade policy. I address this question by analyzing the impact of tariff reductions on the spatial allocation of labor in China and how this impact depends on migration frictions that stem from China's household registration system (hukou). I first provide reduced-form evidence that input trade liberalization has induced significant spatial labor reallocation in China, with a stronger effect in regions with less hukou frictions. The quantitative exercise shows that trade liberalization increases China's welfare by 0.71%. Abolishing the hukou system leads to a direct welfare improvement of 1.33%. Additionally, it increases gains from tariff reductions by 2% and alleviates the latter's negative distributional consequences. I also develop a novel measure of migration frictions associated with the hukou system.
    Keywords: hukou frictions; input trade liberalization; spatial labor reallocation
    JEL: F14 F15 F16
    Date: 2020–03
  14. By: Andri Chassamboulli; Xiangbo Liu
    Abstract: How do legal and illegal immigrants affect the fiscal balance and welfare of natives in the host country? To answer this question we develop a general equilibrium model with search frictions in the labor market that accounts for both the direct net contribution of immigrants to the fiscal balance and their indirect fiscal effects through their labor market impact. We calibrate the model to the US economy and find that legal immigrants increase native welfare, mainly due to their positive direct net contribution to the fiscal balance. On the other hand, illegal immigrants' positive welfare impact stems mainly from their positive effect on job creation, which helps improve the fiscal balance, but also increases income to natives and in turn consumption. A legalization program leads to a fiscal gain and increases native welfare and it is more beneficial to the host country's citizens than a purely restrictive immigration policy that reduces the illegal immigrant population.
    Keywords: Immigration, Search Frictions, Fiscal Impact, Welfare, Job creation, Immigration Policies
    JEL: J61 J64 E20 F22
    Date: 2020–06
  15. By: Sebastian Benz (OECD); Frédéric Gonzales (OECD); Annabelle Mourougane (OECD)
    Abstract: This report casts light on the impact of regulatory restrictions on the movement of people across international borders on services trade costs. Such restrictions were implemented on health and safety grounds following the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020. The analysis relies on several illustrative scenarios in which all the countries are assumed to close their borders to passengers, but leave freight trade open. Services trade costs are estimated to increase by an average of 12% of export values across sectors and countries in the medium term in such a hypothetical scenario. The analysis identifies a large variability in the increase in services-trade costs across sectors and across countries, reflecting the stringency of initial regulations and the relative importance of business travel and labour mobility to international services trade.
    Keywords: COVID-19 (coronavirus), trade in services, travel bans
    JEL: F2 F68 F14
    Date: 2020–07–06
  16. By: Ho Fai Chan; Ahmed Skali; David Savage; David Stadelmann; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: Behavioral responses to pandemics are less shaped by actual mortality or hospitalization risks than they are by risk attitudes. We explore human mobility patterns as a measure of behavioral responses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results indicate that risk-taking attitude is a critical factor in predicting reduction in human mobility and increase social confinement around the globe. We find that the sharp decline in movement after the WHO (World Health Organization) declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic can be attributed to risk attitudes. Our results suggest that regions with risk-averse attitudes are more likely to adjust their behavioral activity in response to the declaration of a pandemic even before most official government lockdowns. Further understanding of the basis of responses to epidemics, e.g., precautionary behavior, will help improve the containment of the spread of the virus.
    Date: 2020–06
  17. By: William J. Collins
    Abstract: The Great Migration from the US South is a prominent theme in economic history research not only because it was a prime example of large scale internal migration, but also because it had far-reaching ramifications for American economic, social, and political change. This essay offers a concise review of the literature focused on questions of timing, selection, and migrants’ outcomes, and then offers a more speculative interpretation of how the Great Migration fostered the advancement of Civil Rights.
    JEL: J15 J61 J7 N32 N92
    Date: 2020–05

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