nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2020‒09‒28
fifteen papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. To Stay or to Migrate? When Becker Meets Harris-Todaro By Pei-Ju Liao; Ping Wang; Yin-Chi Wang; Chong Kee Yip
  2. Immigration and Entrepreneurship in the United States By Pierre Azoulay; Benjamin Jones; J. Daniel Kim; Javier Miranda
  3. Institutional Discrimination and Assimilation: Evidence from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 By Chen, Shuo; Xie, Bin
  4. The Effect of Employer Enrollment in E-Verify on Low-Skilled U.S. Workers By Orrenius, Pia M.; Zavodny, Madeline
  5. Coping with H-1B Shortages: Firm Performance and Mitigation Strategies By Anna Maria Mayda; Francesc Ortega; Giovanni Peri; Kevin Y. Shih; Chad Sparber
  6. Air Pollution & Migration: Exploiting a Natural Experiment from the Czech Republic By Štěpán Mikula; Mariola Pytliková
  7. The Impact of Migration Controls on Urban Fiscal Policies and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital in China By Holger Sieg; Chamna Yoon; Jipeng Zhang
  8. The Relationship between Early-Life Conditions in the Home Country and Adult Outcomes among Child Immigrants in the United States By Gevrek, Deniz; Gevrek, Z. Eylem; Guven, Cahit
  9. Risks and optimal migration duration: The role of higher order risk attitudes By Siwar Khelifa
  10. The Emigration Life Cycle: How Development Shapes Emigration from Poor Countries By Clemens, Michael A.
  11. Trust, Temperature Fluctuations, and Asylum Applications By Stefano Carattini; Marcella Veronesi
  12. Immigration and Redistribution By Benjamin Elsner; Jeff Concannon
  13. Winners and Losers of Immigration By Fiaschi, Davide; Tealdi, Cristina
  15. Reverse Migration during Lockdown: A Snapshot of Public Policies. By Sikdar, Satadru; Mishra, Preksha

  1. By: Pei-Ju Liao; Ping Wang; Yin-Chi Wang; Chong Kee Yip
    Abstract: Allowing migration activity as an integral part of demographic transition and economic development, we establish a locational quantity-quality trade-off of children and explore its macroeconomic consequences. We construct a dynamic competitive migration equilibrium framework with rural agents heterogeneous in skills and fertility preferences. We then establish and characterize a mixed migration equilibrium where high-skilled rural agents with low fertility preferences always migrate to cities, low-skilled with high fertility preferences always stay, and only an endogenously determined fraction of high-skilled/high fertility preferences or low-skilled/low fertility preferences ends up moving. By calibrating our model to fit the data from China, we find interesting interactions between fertility and migration decisions in various counterfactual experiments with respect to changes in migration, population control and rural land entitlement policies. We conclude that overlooking the locational quantity-quality trade-off of children may lead to nonnegligible biases in assessing the implications and effectiveness of government policies.
    JEL: O15 O53 R23 R28
    Date: 2020–09
  2. By: Pierre Azoulay; Benjamin Jones; J. Daniel Kim; Javier Miranda
    Abstract: Immigration can expand labor supply and create greater competition for native-born workers. But immigrants may also start new firms, expanding labor demand. This paper uses U.S. administrative data and other data resources to study the role of immigrants in entrepreneurship. We ask how often immigrants start companies, how many jobs these firms create, and how these firms compare with those founded by U.S.-born individuals. A simple model provides a measurement framework for addressing the dual roles of immigrants as founders and workers. The findings suggest that immigrants act more as "job creators" than "job takers" and that non-U.S. born founders play outsized roles in U.S. high-growth entrepreneurship.
    JEL: J15 L26 M13 O3
    Date: 2020–09
  3. By: Chen, Shuo (Fudan University, China); Xie, Bin (Jinan University)
    Abstract: The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 banned Chinese immigration and institutionalized discrimination against Chinese in U.S. society. This study examines the impact of institutional discrimination on the assimilation of Chinese by exploiting the passage of the Act and the state-level variation in the intensity of discrimination, measured by the voting outcomes of the Act and the number of anti-Chinese incidents. Our difference-in-differences estimates show that discrimination substantially slowed the occupational assimilation of Chinese in the Exclusion Era (1882–1943) and that Chinese in the U.S. reacted to discrimination by investing in human capital, improving English skills, and increasingly adopting Americanized names. The triple difference estimates show that these effects are significantly stronger in states with higher support rates of the Act or greater numbers of anti-Chinese incidents. These findings are not driven by the selection in migration and fertility.
    Keywords: the Chinese Exclusion Act, assimilation, human capital, name Americanization
    JEL: J15 N31 K37
    Date: 2020–08
  4. By: Orrenius, Pia M. (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas); Zavodny, Madeline (University of North Florida)
    Abstract: U.S. employers can check whether the workers they hire are legally eligible for employment using E-Verify, a free electronic system run by the federal government. We use confidential data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to provide the first examination of whether increases in employer enrollment in the E-Verify system affect employment and earnings among workers who are particularly likely to be unauthorized, namely Hispanic non-naturalized immigrants who have not completed high school, and their U.S.-citizen counterparts. We find evidence of negative effects on likely unauthorized immigrant men but positive effects on women. These results are robust to instrumenting for endogenous employer enrollment with state laws that require some or all employers to use the E-Verify system. The results are consistent with a household model of labor supply among unauthorized immigrants.
    Keywords: employment eligibility verification, E-Verify, undocumented immigrants, illegal immigrants
    JEL: J15 J31 J61
    Date: 2020–08
  5. By: Anna Maria Mayda; Francesc Ortega; Giovanni Peri; Kevin Y. Shih; Chad Sparber
    Abstract: The United States' H-1B visa program, which allows private firms to hire highly skilled foreign workers, was so severely over-subscribed in the years since 2014 that H-1B status was distributed by lotteries to a subset of applicants. Using data on H-1B applications and on a range of outcomes for publicly traded companies, we find that employers using the H-1B program experienced reduced employment, sales and profits, compared to non-users in the years since 2014. We also find that some employers anticipated the rationing of H-1Bs and retained a larger share of H-1B workers, mitigating the damaging effects of H-1B rationing on their performance.
    JEL: F22 J61
    Date: 2020–08
  6. By: Štěpán Mikula; Mariola Pytliková
    Abstract: This paper from Štěpán Mikula (Masaryk University) and Mariola Pytliková (EconPol Europe, CERGE-EI) examines causal effects of air pollution on migration by exploiting a unique natural experiment of desulfurization of power plants in the region of North Bohemia in the Czech Republic after the fall of communism in 1989. They find that anti-emigration policies had no impact on emigration decisions, but the effect of air pollution on emigration tended to be stronger in municipalities with weaker social capital and in municipalities less equipped with man-made amenities. These results suggest that strengthening social capital, investing into better facilities in the area of education, health and social care, and promoting sport and cultural activities can partially mitigate the migratory response to air pollution.
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Holger Sieg; Chamna Yoon; Jipeng Zhang
    Abstract: Using newly available data, we document that internal migrants do not enjoy the same access to local public goods and services as city residents in China. We estimate a spatial overlapping generations model with heterogeneous households to quantify the impact of the Hukou system on urban fiscal policies and access to educational opportunities. We find that migrants provide large fiscal externalities to all major cities. We show the feasibility of alternative internal migration policies that offer the potential of decreasing the inequality within China while at the same time increasing the overall level of human capital in the economy.
    JEL: E6 H7 I25 J24
    Date: 2020–09
  8. By: Gevrek, Deniz (Texas A&M University Corpus Christi); Gevrek, Z. Eylem (Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, Porto); Guven, Cahit (Deakin University)
    Abstract: We examine the impact of health and economic conditions at birth on the adult outcomes of child immigrants using the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study. Our sample consists of children from 39 countries who were brought to the United States before the age of 13. We estimate immigrant outcomes as a function of the infant mortality rate (IMR) and GDP per capita of their home country in the year of birth, controlling for birth-year, year-of-arrival and country-of-birth fixed effects, as well as demographic characteristics. IMR has a significant negative impact on English reading ability and GPA in middle school. IMR significantly decreases first job prestige, years of schooling, working hours, log earnings and income satisfaction. Some of these effects appear to be working through the lower middle school GPA. IMR does not influence self-rated health or labour market participation in adulthood, and there is no statistically significant relationship between GDP per capita and adult outcomes. Our estimates are of economic significance: the impact of being born in 1975 versus 1976 in Nicaragua in terms of the impact of IMR on earnings is equal to the gender effect on earnings, while the effect on income satisfaction of being born in Cuba in 1975 versus 1976 in terms of the impact of IMR is about equal to the father's high school completion effect. Our results cannot be explained by selection on observables: the pre-migration characteristics of children and parents are not associated significantly with the health and economic conditions at birth. Also, several tests show that our results cannot be explained by potential selection on unobservables. These results are robust to sample attrition and the inclusion of cohort trends and interaction effects between age-at-arrival and home country conditions.
    Keywords: adult outcomes United States, infant mortality, birth conditions, immigrants
    JEL: I14 J13 J15 J28
    Date: 2020–08
  9. By: Siwar Khelifa (Univ Lyon, Université Lumière Lyon 2, GATE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France)
    Abstract: Using a bivariate expected utility framework, we develop a two-period model where households determine, in the presence of risks, the parents' migration duration when children are left behind. Our model suggests that the optimal migration duration may respond differently to an increase in a given risk. We provide conditions under which it is optimal for households to decrease the parents' migration duration despite an income risk in the place of origin, and to increase it even though the income in the place of destination is risky. The idea of preference for "harm disaggregation" is used to explain the results. In the absence of uncertainty, we also show the role of the interaction between child human capital and wealth in the household's utility function in determining the optimal migration duration of parents. Empirical implications of this analysis are presented in the last part of the paper.
    Keywords: Child human capital, Higher order risk attitudes, Labor migration, Nth degree Risk, Stochastic dominance
    JEL: D61 D81 J61
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Clemens, Michael A. (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: Many governments seek to reduce emigration from low-income countries by encouraging economic development there. A large literature, however, observes that average emigration rates are higher in countries with sustained increases in GDP per capita than in either chronically poor countries or established rich countries. This suggests an emigration life cycle in which average emigration rst rises, then falls with development. But this hypothesis has not been tested with global datasets controlling for unobserved heterogeneity between countries. This paper finds that emigration rises on average as GDP per capita initially rises in poor countries, slowing after roughly US$5,000 at purchasing power parity, and reversing after roughly $10,000. Before this reversal, the within-country elasticity of rising emigration prevalence to rising GDP per capita is +0.35 to all destinations, and +0.74 to rich destinations. This relationship between emigration ows and economic growth is highly robust to country and time effects (xed or random), specication (linear, log, nonparametric), emigration measure (stock or ow), country subsamples (rich destinations, large origins), and historical period (1960–2019 or 1850–1914). Decomposition of channels for this relationship highlight the joint importance of demographic transition, education investment, and structural change, but question a large role for transportation costs or policy barriers.
    Keywords: migration, development, hump, inverse-u, mobility, transition, pressure, poverty, immigration, emigration, demand, growth, opportunity, employment
    JEL: F22 J61 O15
    Date: 2020–08
  11. By: Stefano Carattini (Georgia State University); Marcella Veronesi (Department of Economics (University of Verona))
    Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between generalized trust, temperature fluctuations during the maize growing season, and international migration by asylum seekers. A priori generalized trust can be expected to have an ambiguous effect on migration. On the one hand, countries with higher trust may exhibit higher adaptive capacity to temperature fluctuations and so lower climate-induced migration. On the other hand, trust may also facilitate migration by increasing the likelihood that communities invest in risk sharing through migration and enjoy reliable networks supporting migrants. Hence, it is an empirical question whether trust mitigates or increases the impact of climate change on migration. Our findings are consistent with an ambivalent effect of trust on migration. We find that for moderate temperature fluctuations, trust mitigates the impact of weather on migration. This effect is driven by the role of trust in increasing adaptive capacity. However, for severe temperature fluctuations, communities with higher trust experience more migration. Overall, the former effect dominates the latter, so that the net effect is that trust mitigates migration. Our findings point to important policy implications concerning the role of trust in fostering adaptation by facilitating collective action, and the need for targeted interventions to support adaptation and increase resilience in low-trust societies in which collective action may be harder to achieve.
    Keywords: Migration; climate change; trust; adaptation
    JEL: O15 Q54 Z13
    Date: 2020–09
  12. By: Benjamin Elsner (University College Dublin); Jeff Concannon (University College Dublin)
    Abstract: One of the fundamental questions in the social sciences is whether modern welfare states can be sustained as countries welcome more immigrants. On theoretical grounds, the relationship between immigration and support for redistribution is ambiguous. Immigration may increase ethnic diversity, which may reduce the support for redistribution. On the other hand, natives may demand more redistribution as an insurance against labour market risks brought by immigration. In this chapter, we review the theoretical and empirical literature on immigration and redistribution from across the social sciences. We focus on two themes, namely the effect of immigration on natives’ support for redistribution, and the effect on the actual setting of tax and spending policies. Recent empirical evidence suggests that immigration lowers the support for redistribution and leads to lower taxation and spending. However, the magnitude of these effects appears to be highly context-dependent.
    Keywords: Migration, Redistribution, Public Policy
    JEL: F22 H2 H4
    Date: 2020–07–10
  13. By: Fiaschi, Davide (University of Pisa); Tealdi, Cristina (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh)
    Abstract: We aim to identify winners and losers of a sudden inflow of low-skilled immigrants using a general equilibrium search and matching model in which employees, either native or nonnative, are heterogeneous with respect to their skill level and produce different types of goods. We estimate the short-term impact of this shock for Italy in the period 2008-2017 to be sizeable and highly asymmetric. In 2017, the real wages of low-skilled and high-skilled employees were 8% lower and 4% higher, respectively, compared to a counter-factual scenario with no non-natives. Similarly, employers working in the low-skilled market experienced a drop in profits of comparable magnitude, while the opposite happened to employers operating in the high-skilled market. Finally, the presence of non-natives led to a 10% increase in GDP and to an increment of approximately 70 billions € in Government revenues and 18 billions € in social security contributions. We argue that these results help rationalise the recent surge of anti-immigrant sentiments among the low-income segment of the Italian population.
    Keywords: immigration, welfare, search and matching
    JEL: J61 J64 J21 J31
    Date: 2020–08
  14. By: Seong Hee Kim; Byung-Yeon Kim
    Abstract: This study uses the German socio-economic panel data to investigate the effects of mass migration of East Germans on the generalized trust of West Germans who experienced the aftermath of the unification. Results suggest that West Germans¡¯ trust is negatively correlated with migration, but the persistent effect is only confined to participants in the labor markets at the time. The subsequent analysis finds that perceiving migrants as labor market competitors is a possible channel through which trust is negatively affected.
    Keywords: Trust; Migration; Germany; Unification;
    JEL: C10 C1 C15
    Date: 2020–09
  15. By: Sikdar, Satadru (National Institute of Public Finance and Policy); Mishra, Preksha (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
    Abstract: The imposition of a nation-wide lockdown in India in response to the novel COVID-19 pandemic has appropriately been lauded as an effective pre-emptive strategy. However, a distressing pitfall has been the massive `reverse migration' of migrant workers from the destination centres in an attempt to escape starvation brought on by sudden collapse of employment and lack of effective social protection mechanisms. The pandemic has brought to the forefront of policy discussions not only the immediate issues of this particularly vulnerable group but also the broader issues pertaining to their identification and informal employment conditions. Within the migrant workers, theinter-state migrant workers have been especially affected due to non-portability of entitlements. This paper aims to analyse the migration trends on the basis of available data from the Census of India 2001 and 2011 and to critically examine the current Public policies (Union and state governments) to address the new emerging challenges - provision of immediate relief to migrants, employment generation in source centres to sustain the in-migration and incentivising the `city makers' to return to the destination centres. The paper, further, attempts to assess the issues of sufficiency and feasibility of the public policies in this regard.
    Date: 2020–09

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