nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2020‒10‒19
twelve papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. Labor Market Effects of a Work-first Policy for Refugees By Arendt, Jacob Nielsen
  2. Refugees‘ Integration in the Austrian Labour Market: Occupational Mobility and Job-Skills Mismatch By Michael Landesmann; Sandra M. Leitner
  3. State(s) of negotiation: Drivers of forced migration governance in most of the world By Müller-Funk, Lea; Fröhlich, Christiane; Bank, André
  4. Perpetual Motion: Human Mobility and Spatial Frictions in Three African Countries By Doug Gollin; Paul Blanchard; Martina Kirchberger
  5. Health of Elderly Parents, Their Children's Labor Supply, and the Role of Migrant Care Workers By Wolfgang Frimmel; Martin Halla; Jörg Paetzold; Julia Schmieder
  6. Life after Crossing the Border: Assimilation during the First Mexican Mass Migration By David Escamilla-Guerrero; Edward Kosack; Zachary Ward
  7. Intra-EU migration: Shedding light on drivers, corridors and the relative importance of migrant characteristics By Mack, Miriam; Roeder, Sarah; Marchand, Katrin; Siegel, Melissa
  8. Home is where the heart is? How regional identity hinders internal migration in Germany By Kremer, Anna
  9. What factors determine unequal suburbanisation? New evidence from Warsaw, Poland By Honorata Bogusz; Szymon Winnicki; Piotr Wójcik
  10. Income Changes after Inter-city Migration By Eduardo Lora
  11. The Effects of the 2008 Labour-Migration Reform in Sweden: An Analysis of Income By Irastorza, Nahikari; Emilsson, Henrik
  12. Misallocation of the Immigrant Workforce: Aggregate Productivity Effects for the Host Country By José Pulido; Alejandra Varón

  1. By: Arendt, Jacob Nielsen
    Abstract: This study estimates the labor market effects of a work-first policy that aimed at speeding up the labor market integration of refugees. The policy added new requirements for refugees to actively search for jobs and to participate in on-the-job training immediately upon arrival in the host country. The requirements were added to an existing policy that emphasizes human capital investments in language training. The results show that the work-first policy speeded up the entry into regular jobs for males, but that they find work in precarious jobs with few hours. The long-run effects are uncertain since the policy crowds out language investments but raises enrollment in education. The policy had no or very small effects for women, which is partly explained by a lower treatment intensity for women.
    Keywords: Refugee,Unemployment,Work-first,Employment Support
    JEL: J61 J64 J68
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Michael Landesmann (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Sandra M. Leitner (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw)
    Abstract: wiiw publishes a detailed study on occupational mobility and job-skills mismatch of the recent wave of refugees from the Middle East (predominantly from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran) in the Austrian labour market. The study is based on two waves of an extensive survey of refugees conducted between December 2017 and May 2019, comprising 1,600 and 2,400 respondents respectively. The following are the key findings (i) Occupational mobility analysis suggests a steep decline in ‘occupational status’ when comparing the last job in the home country and the first job attained in Austria, and a slight recovery afterwards—a ‘mirror J’ pattern. (ii) The initial decline is particularly strong for persons with tertiary degrees, and for those who worked as professionals, senior officials and managers before leaving their home countries. (iii) Occupational trajectories of female refugees differ from those of their male counterparts in that they experience a steeper occupational downgrade between their last job in the home country and first job in Austria and there is little evidence of an occupational recovery after the initial drop. (iv) In both waves of the survey, about 60% of the respondents regard themselves as ‘overqualified’ in their current employment; a higher share of males than of females in this self-assessment think of themselves as ‘overqualified’. The share of those who think they are ‘overqualified’ jumps to 70-74% among those with higher educational attainment levels.
    Keywords: Refugees, occupational trajectories, job-skills mismatch, Austria, refugees from Middle East, migrants’ job-market integration
    JEL: J15 J24 J61 J62
    Date: 2020–10
  3. By: Müller-Funk, Lea; Fröhlich, Christiane; Bank, André
    Abstract: Between normative aspirations and national interests, forced migrants often become pawns in host states' negotiations with internal and external actors. Focusing on North Africa, the Middle East, and the Horn of Africa, this paper offers an analytical framework to better understand forced migration governance across space and time from a more global, pluralist perspective in a logic of iterative theory-building. We hypothesise that some drivers of forced migration governance are distinct from drivers of migration governance - for example, global policy and conceptions of humanitarian norms and principles play a larger role in the former. We hypothesise that while forced migration governance is negotiated around humanitarian principles, in which international actors, externalisation, and civil society play a crucial role, it also functions as a regime strategy and is driven by certain characteristics of forced migrant groups, including size and perceived identity proximity. Finally, forced migration governance is characterised by strong path dependency.
    Keywords: migration governance,forced migration,stability,Middle East,North Africa,Horn of Africa,regime strategy,crisis
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Doug Gollin; Paul Blanchard; Martina Kirchberger
    Abstract: Frictions affecting human mobility have been identified as important potential sources of the spatial gaps in wages and living standards that characterize many low-income countries. However, little direct data has been available to characterize mobility. Many surveys and censuses provide only limited information and focus on longer-term migration decisions. In this paper, we use a novel data source that provides highly detailed location data on more than one million devices across three large African countries for an entire year. This allows us to examine high-frequency mobility patterns for a subset of high-quality observations for whom we can determine home locations confidently. We link our users with spatial data on population density and nationally representative micro-survey data to characterize this non-random sample. This allows us to document how representative the home locations of our users are and how smartphone users differ from other individuals. We then propose a number of metrics to measure high-frequency mobility. Our rich data allow us to characterize mobility at various spatial and temporal scales. We find that users are remarkably mobile in terms of the fraction of days seen at least 10km away from their home location, and the average distance for non-home location pings. Individuals residing in low-density locations are well linked to high-density locations. A significant fraction of visitors to the largest cities comes from non-urban areas. Finally, we examine how sensitive travel is to distance. We find that across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales our estimates are in line with previous gravity estimates in the literature.
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Wolfgang Frimmel; Martin Halla; Jörg Paetzold; Julia Schmieder
    Abstract: We estimate the impact of parental health on adult children’s labor market outcomes. We focus on health shocks which increase care dependency abruptly. Our estimation strategy exploits the variation in the timing of shocks across treated families. Empirical results based on Austrian administrative data show a significant negative impact on labor market activities of children. This effect is more pronounced for daughters and for children who live close to their parents. Further analyses suggest informal caregiving as the most likely mechanism. The effect is muted after a liberalization of the formal care market, which sharply increased the supply of foreign care workers.
    Keywords: Informal care, formal care, aging, health, labor supply, labor migration
    JEL: J14 J22 I11 I18 R23
    Date: 2020
  6. By: David Escamilla-Guerrero; Edward Kosack; Zachary Ward
    Abstract: The first mass migration of Mexicans to the United States occurred in the early twentieth century: from smaller pre-Revolutionary flows in the 1900s, to hundreds of thousands during the violent 1910s, to the boom of the 1920s, and then the bust and deportations/repatriations of the 1930s. We show that despite these large shifts, the rate of economic assimilation was remarkably similar across arrival cohorts. We find that the average Mexican immigrant held a lower-paying job than US-born whites near arrival and further fell behind in the following decade. However, Mexican assimilation was not uniquely slow since we also find that the average Italian immigrant fell behind at a similar rate. Yet, conditional on geography, human capital, and initial earning score, Mexicans had a slower growth rate than both US-born whites and Italians. We argue that Mexican-specific structural barriers help to explain why Mexican progress was slower than other groups and why different Mexican arrival cohorts had limited variation in outcomes despite the large shocks to migration.
    Keywords: assimilation, immigration, Mexico, mobility, mob violence
    JEL: J15 J61 J62 N31 N32
    Date: 2020–10–05
  7. By: Mack, Miriam (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Roeder, Sarah (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Marchand, Katrin (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University); Siegel, Melissa (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Much of the existing literature on intra-EU mobility focuses on labour migration from the new East-ern to the old Member States and neglects the social and emotional dimensions of mobility and their interrelatedness with economic drivers. Using a dataset consisting of 98 interviews conducted in four destination countries (Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) with intra-EU migrants originating from EU15 countries (59 individuals) and CEE countries (39 individuals), this paper contributes to the understanding of the nature of individual mobility decision-making and the diversity of reasons that drive migration within the EU. Specifically, it provides an in-depth analysis on how intra-EU mobility decision-making relates to specific migrant characteristics such as country of origin, age, skill level and gender and the dynamics inherent to specific migration corridors. The qualitative data is analysed in the light of existing theories of mobility and their relative importance in predicting intra-EU mobility. The results show that intra-EU migration decision-making is a highly complex process and is seldom based on one specific driver. Rather, the decision-making process is, in most cases, based on several interrelated factors beyond purely economic considerations. This paper contributes to the understanding of emotional and social considerations in migration decision-making, which have largely been neglected in existing literature. Importantly, it also contributes to the understanding of different intra-EU migration corridors, such as the East-West, East-South, South-North and West-West corridors, which remain relatively under-researched, and how these relate to specific migrant characteristics. Understanding the migration decision-making of individuals is of pivotal importance for both scholars and specifically policymakers to attract and retain talent.
    Keywords: High-skilled migration, Migration decision-making, EU mobility, EU migration Migration corridors
    JEL: J61 R23 F22 J15 J23
    Date: 2020–10–05
  8. By: Kremer, Anna
    Abstract: People are emotional about places. I study the effect of regional identity (\at home") on internal migration ows in Germany between 1995 and 2017. Regional identity is proxied by measuring how NUTS3 regions were historically affiliated in the former patchwork of Germany. When controlling for the in uence of distance, culture (mea- sured by dialects) and regional characteristics, I confirm that regional identity drives migration patterns additionally. Employing the separation effect by the German wall affirms that not only earlier migration or family bonds determine movements instead of regional identity.
    Keywords: Internal migration,Regional identity,Historical belonging,Gravity model,Germany,Binnenmigration,Regionale Identität,Historische Zugehörigkeit,Heimat,Gravitationsmodell,Deutschland
    JEL: R R23 Z10 J61
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Honorata Bogusz (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw and Labfam); Szymon Winnicki (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw); Piotr Wójcik (Faculty of Economic Sciences, Data Science Lab WNE UW, University of Warsaw)
    Abstract: This article investigates the causes of spatially uneven migration from Warsaw to its suburban boroughs. The method is based on the gravity model of migration extended by additional measures of possible pulling factors. We report a novel approach to modelling suburbanisation: several linear and non-linear predictive models are estimated and explainable AI methods are used to interpret the shape of relationships between the dependent variable and the most important regressors. It is confirmed that migrants choose boroughs of better amenities and of smaller distance to Warsaw city center.
    Keywords: suburbanisation, gravity model of migration, machine learning models, explainable artificial intelligence
    JEL: R23 P25 C14 C51 C52
    Date: 2020
  10. By: Eduardo Lora (Center for International Development at Harvard University)
    Abstract: Using panel data for workers who change jobs, changes in several labor outcomes after inter-city migration are estimated by comparing workers in similar circumstances who move to a new city –the treatment group—with those who stay in the same city –the control group. After matching the two groups using Mahalanobis distances over a wide range of covariates, the methodology of “difference-in-difference treatment effects on the treated” is used to estimate changes after migration. On average, migrants experience income gains but their dedication to formal employment becomes shorter. Income changes are very heterogenous, with low-wage workers and those formerly employed by small firms experiencing larger and more sustained gains. The propensity to migrate by groups of sex, age, wage level, initial dedication, initial firm size and size of city of origin is significantly and directly correlated with the expected cumulative income gains of migration, and inversely with the uncertainty of such gains.
    Keywords: matched employer-employee panel data, diff-in-diff treatment effects, migration risks, migration determinants, Colombia
    JEL: J31 J61 J81
    Date: 2020–10
  11. By: Irastorza, Nahikari; Emilsson, Henrik
    Abstract: In 2008, Sweden changed its labour-migration policy in order to facilitate more labour migration from countries outside the EU. The unique design of the new law meant abandoning most state ambitions to shape labour migration. Under the new regulation, there are no labour-market tests or any consideration of the level of human capital. Instead, policy-makers trusted employers to select workers. We adopt a difference-in-differences approach and apply a series of OLS regressions on register data to assess the effects of the policy change on non-EU labour migrants' labour-market outcomes, as measured by income. The effects of the policy change are substantial. Non-EU labour migration increased and its composition changed after the reform, resulting in a significant decrease in mean incomes. The regression analysis shows that, despite the favourable economic cycle during the post-reform period, moving to Sweden as a third-country labour migrant following the 2008 labour-migration reform had a negative effect on the migrants' annual income. However, this effect became marginal after controlling for occupational level. We conclude that changes in their occupational composition were the main drivers of the income drop for non-EU labour migrants. In sum, the new non-selective labour-migration policy lowered labour migrants' mean income by opening the door to unskilled labour.
    Keywords: Migration policy,effects,2008 reform,labour migration,income,Sweden
    JEL: J15 J21 J30 J61
    Date: 2020
  12. By: José Pulido (Banco de la República de Colombia); Alejandra Varón (Universidad de los Andes)
    Abstract: Mass migrations can impact the amount of labor misallocation in the host country if immigrants, relative to natives, face more frictions that prevent them from working in their preferred occupations. The resulting misallocation would imply an aggregate productivity loss in the short run while migration occurs, but an subsequent lapse of productivity growth when the immigrants start to be assimilated by the labor market. We study the case of Colombia during 2015-2019, a period when the country received a massive inflow of migrants from Venezuela. Through the lens of a Roy model of occupational choice with two types of frictions - discrimination and barriers preventing workers from choosing their preferred occupations - we quantify the extent of occupational misallocation for immigrants, and its implications for Colombian aggregate labor productivity. Our estimates indicate that both type of frictions significatively misallocate Venezuelan immigrants. Removing those frictions would lead at least one third of immigrants to reallocate, permanently increasing Colombian aggregate productivity by 0.9%. **** RESUMEN: Las migraciones masivas pueden aumentar la ineficiencia en la asignación del trabajo en el país anfitrión si los trabajadores inmigrantes, en relación con los nativos, enfrentan más fricciones en el mercado laboral que les impidan trabajar en sus ocupaciones deseadas. La mala asignación resultante genera una pérdida de productividad agregada en el corto plazo mientras la migración ocurre, pero un crecimiento posterior cuando los inmigrantes se asimilen en el mercado laboral. En este artículo estudiamos el caso de Colombia durante 2015-2019, un período en el que el país recibió una afluencia masiva de migrantes desde Venezuela. A partir de un modelo de Roy de elección ocupacional con dos tipos de fricciones – discriminación laboral y obstáculos que obligan a los trabajadores a elegir ocupaciones distintas a las de su preferencia – cuantificamos el grado de mala asignación del trabajo de los inmigrantes y sus implicaciones sobre la productividad agregada laboral colombiana. Nuestras estimaciones indican que ambos tipos de fricciones generan asignaciones ocupacionales ineficientes para los migrantes, y que al eliminar dichas fricciones al menos una tercera parte de los trabajadores migrantes cambiaria de ocupación, lo que incrementaría la productividad colombiana en un 0.9% de forma permanente.
    Keywords: Immigration, misallocation, Roy model, discrimination, productivity, Migración, asignación ocupacional, modelo de Roy, discriminación, productividad
    JEL: F22 O15 J61 O24
    Date: 2020–10

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