nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2021‒08‒09
nine papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. The Impact of International Migration on sub-Saharan African Women to the Middle East By Estella Achinko
  2. Testing Classic Theories of Migration in the Lab By Catia Batista
  3. Long-term Consequences of Civil War in Tajikistan: Schooling and International Migration Outcomes By Satoshi Shimizutani; Eiji Yamada
  4. Using Twitter to Track Immigration Sentiment During Early Stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic By Rowe, Francisco; Mahony, Michael; Graells-Garrido, Eduardo; Rango, Marzia; Sievers, Niklas
  5. Border enforcement policies and reforms in South Africa (1994-2020) By Handmaker, J.D.; Nalule, C.
  6. On the Triggers of Hazardous Border Crossings: Evidence from the US-Mexican Border By Chau, Nancy H.; Garip, Filiz; Oritz-Bobea, Ariel
  7. Informal Incentives, Labor Supply, and the Effect of Immigration on Wages By Matthias Fahn; Takeshi Murooka
  8. High School Choices by Immigrant Students in Italy: Evidence from Administrative Data. By Koray Aktas; Gianluca Argentin; Gian Paolo Barbetta; Gianna Barbieri; Luca Vittorio Angelo Colombo
  9. Optimal Income Taxation: An Urban Economics Perspective By Mark Huggett; Wenlan Luo

  1. By: Estella Achinko (The Women’s Welfare Foundation (WoWF), Cameroon)
    Abstract: Recently, there has been a surge in female immigration from Africa to the Middle East, joining the global movement of migrants, while, constituting the dangers and feminist dilemmas posed by the rise in African women’s migration. Sub-Saharan African women face challenges as labor migrants in the process of leaving their home countries to the Middle East in search for job opportunities and to better their lives and families. At the center of these challenges have involved extreme dehumaniza-tion through slave labor, human trafficking, sexual exploitation while impacting their psychological and mental well being. This study analyzes the various factors that affect the migration and em-ployment of sub-Saharan African women domestic workers in the Middle East, based on both pull and push factors. The work further examines and shows how gender inequalities play a role in shaping women’s experiences in migration, and how States/governments in both the Middle East and Africa remain complicit in worsening women’s migratory experiences through laws that are be-ing established. This empirical based and theoretical discussion exposes the experiences of sub-Saharan African women through a transnational feminist lens and analysis. Also, it leads to a larger based discussion on transnational feminism and how we can construct a transnational platform that draws attention to the relationship between globalization and the international division of gendered labor. My overarching goal through this study is to draw attention to pursuing and expanding our discussions on feminist migration studies through diverse perspectives that are directed towards the empowerment of women in Africa in particular, and around the world in general.
    Keywords: Domestic labor, Gender, International Migration, Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, Women
    Date: 2021–05
  2. By: Catia Batista
    Abstract: We test the predictions of different classic migration theories by using incentivized laboratory experiments to investigate how potential migrants decide between working in different destinations. We test theories of income maximization, migrant skill-selection, and multidestination choice as we vary migration costs, liquidity constraints, risk, social benefits, and incomplete information. We show the standard income maximization model of migration with selection on observed and unobserved skills leads to a much higher migration rate and more negative skill-selection than is obtained when migration decisions take place under more realistic assumptions. Second, we investigate whether the independence of irrelevant alternatives (IIA) assumption holds. We find it holds for most people when decisions just involve wages, costs, and liquidity constraints. However, once we add a risk of unemployment and incomplete information, IIA no longer holds for about 20 percent of our sample.
    Keywords: Migrant Selection, Destination Choice, Lab Experiment, IIA
    JEL: F22 O15 C91
    Date: 2021–07
  3. By: Satoshi Shimizutani (JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development); Eiji Yamada (JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development)
    Abstract: This study utilizes variations in exposure to the armed conflict to examine the long-term consequences of civil war in Tajikistan on a variety of outcomes twenty years after the end of the civil war. We confirm a negative and significant effect on completing basic education for girls exposed to the war during their school ages while other girls were able to attain higher education levels than previously. Moreover, we see adverse effects on employment status for males exposed to armed conflicts in their primary school ages and long-term effects in international migration status for those males.
    Keywords: Tajikistan, Civil war, Long-term consequences, Schooling, International migration
    JEL: D1 I2 O1
    Date: 2021–07–14
  4. By: Rowe, Francisco (University of Liverpool); Mahony, Michael; Graells-Garrido, Eduardo; Rango, Marzia; Sievers, Niklas
    Abstract: In 2020, the world faced an unprecedented challenge to tackle and understand the spread and impacts of COVID- 19. Large-scale coordinated efforts have been dedicated to understand the global health and economic implications of the pandemic. Yet, the rapid spread of discrimination and xenophobia against specific populations, particularly migrants and individuals of Asian descent, has largely been neglected. Understanding public attitudes towards migration is essential to counter discrimination against immigrants and promote social cohesion. Traditional data sources to monitor public opinion – ethnographies, interviews, and surveys – are often limited due to small samples, high cost, low temporal frequency, slow collection, release and coarse spatial resolution. New forms of data, particularly from social media, can help overcome these limitations. While some bias exists, social media data are produced at an unprecedented temporal frequency, geographical granularity, are collected globally and accessible in real-time. Drawing on a data set of 30.39 million tweets and natural language processing, this paper aims to measure shifts in public sentiment opinion about migration during early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Results show an increase of migration-related Tweets along with COVID-19 cases during national lockdowns in all five countries. Yet, we found no evidence of a significant increase in anti-immigration sentiment, as rises in the volume of negative messages are offset by comparable increases in positive messages. Additionally, we presented evidence of growing social polarisation concerning migration, showing high concentrations of strongly positive and strongly negative sentiments.
    Date: 2021–07–25
  5. By: Handmaker, J.D.; Nalule, C.
    Abstract: Prior to 1994, South Africa was infamous for its racialised policies and seemingly limitless measures of social control through a regime of apartheid, or racialised separation. Its unforgiving approach of previous, white-minority governments extended to mainly black foreigners, including refugees from the civil war in Mozambique from 1977–1992. After democratic elections in 1994, South Africa’s immediate post-apartheid migration regime was still largely oriented around an unreconstructed, apartheid-era approach of controlling the admission into, residence in, and departure from South Africa. This dire situation triggered a call for reform, to which policymakers were very slow to respond. Ultimately, in its efforts to develop and implement a border management and migration framework, the South African government has heavily relied on legal frameworks, border control policies, strategies and technologies transplanted from Europe and the United States. But, despite all this investment in a precedent-based yet foreign machinery, the government still struggles with its porous borders and irregular immigration. As a result, attempts to manage migration through policy reforms in South Africa have been fraught with challenges and contradictions. Particularly from around 2008, South Africa has not only embraced a spate of ever-more restrictive policies and laws that aim to sift out the desirable from the undesirable migrants, it has defied court judgements that have found the government to be in contravention of the law and the Constitution and obliged it to change. This has culminated in an explicitly deterrent and security-oriented approach that continues to lack effective judicial oversight. In this Working Paper, we present a comprehensive overview of South African migration and Border Control policies over a 25-year period. In a separate paper, which builds on this thick description, we argue that South Africa’s efforts to deter immigrants has not been framed by globally-accepted principles, based on South Africa’s ratification of international treaties governing refugees and migrants in particular, but rather has continued to be a policy of rather arbitrary enforcement is a sad reflection of deep-seated governance problems that the country faces generally.
    Keywords: migration, refugees, South Africa
    Date: 2021–07–28
  6. By: Chau, Nancy H.; Garip, Filiz; Oritz-Bobea, Ariel
    Abstract: We study the self-selection of migrants at crossing locations along the Mexican-U.S. border distinguished by stark differences in physiography and border enforcement intensities. We model the triggers of hazardous crossings, and reveal self-selection patters that are alternative-specific: individuals with low economic prospects at origin communities are favorably selected at high-risk, high-reward crossing locations. Using comprehensive migrant journey level trajectories from the Mexican Migration Project (1980-2005), and identification based on enforcement reforms, community-level trade and weather shocks, as well as migrant-specificc characteristics, we estimate a McFadden choice model of border crossing. Results confirm the negative-selection of migrants in high-risk, high-likelihood of success border crossing locations, in addition to nuanced variations when economic shocks are idiosyncratic rather than permanent. The implications of these observations on the effectiveness of border walls and trade walls in mediating cross-border migration flows are also discussed.
    Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy
    Date: 2021–03–31
  7. By: Matthias Fahn; Takeshi Murooka
    Abstract: This paper theoretically investigates how an increase in the supply of homogenous workers can raise wages, generating new insights on potential drivers for the observed non-negative wage effects of immigration. We develop a model of a labor market with frictions in which firms can motivate workers only through informal incentives. A higher labor supply increases firms’ chances of filling a vacancy, which reduces their credibility to compensate workers for their effort. As a response, firms endogenously generate costs of turnover by paying workers a rent, and this rent is higher if an increase in labor supply reduces a firm’s credibility. By this effect, a higher labor supply — for example caused by immigration — can increase workers’ compensation. Moreover, an asymmetric equilibrium exists in which native workers are paid higher wages than immigrants and work harder. In such an equilibrium, an inflow of immigrants increases productivity, profits, and employment.
    Keywords: Informal Incentives, Labor Supply, Immigration.
    JEL: D21 D86 F22 J21 J61 L22
    Date: 2021–05
  8. By: Koray Aktas; Gianluca Argentin; Gian Paolo Barbetta (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore; Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Gianna Barbieri; Luca Vittorio Angelo Colombo (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore; Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)
    Abstract: We investigate the educational choices of first- and second-generation immigrant students at the transition between lower-secondary school and high school by exploiting a large longitudinal dataset of about 50,000 students in Italy. We find that immigrant students are less likely to choose challenging academic track high schools compared with their Italian counterparts, after controlling for household characteristics, school fixed e ects, and students' performance. We show that systematic di erences in teachers' evaluations received by the two groups of students are an important driver of the observed di erences in educational choices by immigrant and native students. In particular, after controlling for observable characteristics, we find that immigrant students are more likely to be formally advised by their teachers to choose vocational or technical high schools rather than academic tracks, re ecting a discrimination bias that has not previously been emphasized in the literature. This suggests the role of a new dimension of policy intervention aimed at reducing the possibility of teachers' induced discrimination based on implicit stereotypes.
    Keywords: immigrant students, high school choice, academic track, discrimination biases, implicit stereotypes.
    JEL: I21 I24 I26 I28
    Date: 2021–07
  9. By: Mark Huggett; Wenlan Luo
    Abstract: We derive an optimal labor income tax rate formula for urban models in which tax rates are determined by traditional forces plus a new term arising from urban forces: house price, migration and agglomeration effects. Based on the earnings distributions and housing costs in large and small US cities, we find that in a benchmark model (i) optimal income tax rates are U-shaped, (ii) urban forces serve to raise optimal tax rates at all income levels and (iii) adopting an optimal tax system induces agents with low skills to leave large, productive cities. While agglomeration effects enter the optimal tax formula, they play almost no quantitative role in shaping optimal labor income tax rates.
    Keywords: Housing; Income inequality; Urban economics; Optimal taxation
    JEL: R20 J10 H20
    Date: 2021–07–23

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