nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2022‒01‒03
nine papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. "Intergenerational Assimilation of Minorities: The Role of the Majority Group" By Ryo Itoh; Yasuhiro Sato; Yves Zenou
  2. Scared Straight? Threat and Assimilation of Refugees in Germany By Jaschke Philipp; Sulin Sardoschau; Marco Tabellini
  3. The Labor Market Integration of Syrian Refugees in Turkey By Murat Demirci; Murat Guray Kirdar
  4. Firm productivity and immigrant-native earnings disparity By Olof Åslund; Cristina Bratu; Stefano Lombardi; Anna Thoresson
  5. Housing Support Policies and Refugees' Labor Market Integration in Austria By Fanny Dellinger
  6. Network Analysis of the Determinants of Attitudes towards Immigrants across Regions By Rachael Kei KAWASAKI; IKEDA Yuichi
  7. Micromotives and macromoves : Political preferences and internal migration in England and Wales By Efthyvoulou, Georgios; Bove, Vincenzo; Pickard, Harry
  8. Effects of Wildfire Destruction on Migration, Consumer Credit, and Financial Distress By Jennifer Balch; Katherine Curtis; Jack DeWaard; Elizabeth Fussell; Kathryn McConnell; Kobie Price; Lise St. Denis; Stephan Whitaker
  9. The resilience of students with an immigrant background: An update with PISA 2018 By Lucie Cerna; Ottavia Brussino; Cecilia Mezzanotte

  1. By: Ryo Itoh (Graduate School of Information Sciences, Tohoku University); Yasuhiro Sato (Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo); Yves Zenou (Department of Economics, Monash University)
    Abstract: We develop a dynamic model of assimilation of ethnic minorities that posits a tradeoff between higher productivity and wages and greater social distance to the culture of origin. We also highlight the importance of the assimilation of the past generation and the role of the majority group in the assimilation of ethnic minorities. First, there is an inverted U−shaped relationship between the degree of tolerance of the majority individuals and the average level of assimilation in the society. Second, more tolerance from the majority group generates positive externalities for the minority group, while each minority’s individual assimilation effort affects the welfare of the majority individuals differently depending on the initial minority assimilation level. Finally, the more the majority individuals are tolerant toward the minority group, the more the minority individuals will assimilate to the majority group, while the reverse is not always true. In fact, when there is too much assimilation, the majority group may reduce its degree of tolerance toward the majority group.
    Date: 2021–12
  2. By: Jaschke Philipp (Philipp Jaschke); Sulin Sardoschau (Sulin Sardoschau); Marco Tabellini (Marco Tabellini)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of threat on convergence to local culture and on economic assimilation of refugees, exploiting plausibly exogenous variation in their allocation across German regions between 2013 and 2016. We combine novel survey data on cultural preferences and economic outcomes of refugees with corresponding information on locals, and construct a threat index that integrates contemporaneous and historical variables. On average, refugees assimilate both culturally and economically. However, while refugees assigned to more hostile regions converge to local culture more quickly, they do not exhibit faster economic assimilation. We provide evidence consistent with the hypothesis that refugees exert more assimilation effort in response to local threat, but fail to successfully integrate because of higher discrimination by locals in more hostile regions.
    Keywords: Migration, refugees, culture, assimilation, identity
    JEL: F22 J15 Z10
    Date: 2021–12
  3. By: Murat Demirci (Department of Economics, Koç University); Murat Guray Kirdar (Department of Economics, Boğaziçi University)
    Abstract: Turkey hosts the largest population of refugees globally; however, we know little about their labor market outcomes at the national level. We use the 2018 round of the Turkey Demographic and Health Survey, which includes a representative sample of Syrian refugees in Turkey for the first time, to examine a rich set of labor market outcomes. We find that the native-refugee gap in men’s employment in Turkey (in favor of natives) is much smaller than that reported for most developed countries. Moreover, men’s employment peaks quite early (one year) after arrival and remains there, whereas women’s employment is lower to begin with and changes little over time. Once we account for demographic and educational differences, the native-refugee gap in men’s (women’s) paid employment reduces to 4.7 (4.0) percentage points (pp). These small gaps conceal the fact that refugees’ formal employment is much lower. Even after accounting for the covariates, refugee men’s formal employment rate is 58 pp lower. In addition, the native-refugee gap is the smallest in manufacturing for men and in agriculture for women, and the gap is also much smaller in wage-employment than self-employment and unpaid family work for both genders. Young refugees are more likely to work than natives, whereas the gap favors natives among the prime-age working people. Moreover, the native-refugee gap in employment widens for more educated refugees. Finally, accounting for the differences in covariates, the native-refugee gap in men’s employment vanishes for Turkish-speaking refugees but persists for Arabic- and Kurdish-speaking refugees.
    Keywords: Syrian refugees, labor market integration, employment, Turkey.
    JEL: J61 F22 J21 O15
    Date: 2021–12
  4. By: Olof Åslund (Olof Åslund); Cristina Bratu (Cristina Bratu); Stefano Lombardi (Stefano Lombardi); Anna Thoresson (Anna Thoresson)
    Abstract: We study the role of firm productivity in explaining earnings disparities between immigrants and natives using population-wide matched employer-employee data from Sweden. We find substantial earnings returns to working in firms with higher persistent productivity, with greater gains for immigrants from non-Western countries. Moreover, the pass-through of within-firm productivity variation to earnings is stronger for immigrants in low-productive, immigrant-dense firms. But immi grant workers are underrepresented in high-productive firms and less likely to move up the productivity distribution. Thus, sorting into less productive firms decreases earnings in poor-performing immigrant groups that would gain the most from working in high-productive firms
    Keywords: Firm productivity; Immigrant-native earnings gaps; Wage inequality
    JEL: J15 J31 J62
    Date: 2021–12
  5. By: Fanny Dellinger
    Abstract: Housing support is an important lever for promoting integration objectives with huge potential to improve refugees' early employment outcomes. This mixed-methods study is based on Austrian register data and interviews with NGO and government representatives. In Austria, asylum seekers are quasi-randomly assigned to federal states (Bundesländer). There, monetary assistance is similar for asylees but only some states offer further support with the housing search process. This study assesses the impact of housing support on refugees' location choice and early employment outcomes by comparing two groups of refugee men: singles and those with families. If housing support is limited, scarce resources are directed to the most vulnerable and single men are often left out. This makes them more likely to leave an assigned state and find shelter with the ethnic community. Whereas in states with strong housing support single men and families show roughly equal propensities to out-migrate, if support is low 63% of single men but only 35% of families leave. In the first year, employment rates of single men assigned to low housing support states are estimated to be 6 percentage points lower due to a lack of housing support.
    Keywords: Labor Market Integration of Refugees, Housing entry pathways, host country institutions, Austria
    JEL: J61 J68 I38 H73
    Date: 2021
  6. By: Rachael Kei KAWASAKI; IKEDA Yuichi
    Abstract: Widespread anti-immigrant sentiment during the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that attitudes towards immigrants are a pertinent issue for policymakers aiming to create effective immigration and integration policy. However, previous research has mainly focused on European and a select group of Anglophone countries, like the United States, Canada, the UK. As a result, policymakers outside of these contexts may find this research inapplicable to their context. This study analyzes regional differences in the determinants of attitudes towards immigrants in over 50 countries by employing four signed and weighted bipartite networks of large regions of countries connected through migration. Using data from Wave 6 of the World Values Survey, four bipartite networks of countries and determinants of attitudes towards immigrants are constructed and projected into one-mode networks: one of the countries and one of the attitudes, beliefs, and values which influence attitudes, or "features." Community analysis detects which features are correlated in determining attitudes, allowing for the reduction of hundreds of features to key determinants of attitudes in a region. The study finds that prejudices towards out-groups, especially racial prejudice, are important determinants irrespective of region and can be considered a generalizable determinant of attitudes towards immigrants. Moreover, analysis of racial prejudice's links with other determinants and its subcommunity structure finds that intergroup conflict theory is influential in the Eastern Europe/Central Asia and Western Europe/North Africa networks, while neither social identity theory nor intergroup conflict theory are present in the Africa, Americas, or Asia networks. Results are mixed in the Middle East and Southeast Asia networks. Finally, values-based attitudes, such as the importance a person puts on fairness or benevolence, are more prominent in networks containing European countries, while they are not in other regions. This finding suggests that values-based communications on migration, which are often considered best practice, may not be effective in other regions, and highlights the need for greater research into cultural differences in the determinants of attitudes.
    Date: 2021–12
  7. By: Efthyvoulou, Georgios (University of Sheffield); Bove, Vincenzo (University of Warwick, Department of Politics and International Studies and CAGE); Pickard, Harry (Newcastle University Business School)
    Abstract: When people migrate internally, do they tend to move to locations that reflect their political preferences? To address this question, we first compile a unique panel dataset on the universe of population movements in England and Wales across 346 local authority districts over the period 2002-2015, and estimate a gravity model of internal migration. We show that proximity in partisan composition exerts an important positive effect on migration flows, which is of a similar order of magnitude as wage differentials or ethnic proximity. We then use individual surveybased data over the same time period to investigate some of the micro-foundations underlying the macromoves. We find that political alignment to the district of residence contributes to individuals' sense of belonging and fitting in consistent with the existence of a political homophily mechanism and that a migrant's political ideology can predict the partisanship of the destination district.
    Keywords: Internal migration ; Residential mobility ; Neighbourhood preference ; Polarization ; Political sorting ; Gravity models
    Date: 2021
  8. By: Jennifer Balch; Katherine Curtis; Jack DeWaard; Elizabeth Fussell; Kathryn McConnell; Kobie Price; Lise St. Denis; Stephan Whitaker
    Abstract: The scale of wildfire destruction has grown exponentially in recent years, destroying nearly 25,000 buildings in the United States during 2018 alone. However, there is still limited research exploring how wildfires affect migration patterns and household finances. In this study, we evaluate the effects of wildfire destruction on in-migration and out-migration probability at the Census tract level in the United States from 1999 to 2018. We then shift to the individual level and examine changes in homeownership, consumer credit usage, and financial distress among people whose neighborhood suffered damaging fires. We pair quarterly observations from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York/Equifax Consumer Credit Panel with building destruction counts from the US National Incident Management System/Incident Command System database of wildfire events. Our findings show significantly heightened out-migration probability among tracts that experienced the most destructive wildfires, but no effect on in-migration probability. Among the consumer credit measures, we find a significant drop in homeownership among those treated by major fires. This is concentrated in people over the age of 60. Measures of credit distress, including delinquencies, bankruptcies, and foreclosures, improve rather than deteriorate after the fire, but the changes are not statistically significant. While wildfire effects on migration and borrowing are measurable, they are not yet as large as those observed following other natural disasters such as hurricanes.
    Keywords: Wildfire; Migration; Consumer Credit
    JEL: D12 Q54 R23
    Date: 2021–12–27
  9. By: Lucie Cerna (OECD); Ottavia Brussino (OECD); Cecilia Mezzanotte (OECD)
    Abstract: Education has a fundamental role in promoting the integration of students with an immigrant background in host societies. It can help them acquire skills to participate in the economy, promote their social and emotional well-being and support their participation in the social and civic life of their communities. However, there are challenges in ensuring good outcomes for students with an immigrant background as, among others, they need to overcome adversities related to displacement, socio-economic disadvantage and language barriers. Building on the 2018 Report “The Resilience of Students with an Immigrant Background: Factors that Shape Well-being” by the OECD Strength through Diversity project, this paper analyses the academic, socio‑emotional and motivational resilience of students with an immigrant background across OECD countries. It provides updated findings with data from the OECD’s Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 and examines how outcomes across different student groups have changed in recent years.
    Date: 2021–12–20

This nep-mig issue is ©2022 by Yuji Tamura. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.