nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2022‒12‒12
twelve papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. The Migration Crisis in the Local News: Evidence from the French-Italian Border By Silvia Peracchi
  2. Skilled Immigration, Task Allocation and the Innovation of Firms By Mayda, Anna Maria; Orefice, Gianluca; Santoni, Gianluca
  3. Do Immigrants Move to Welfare? Subnational Evidence from Switzerland By Ferwerda, Jeremy; Marbach, Moritz; Hangartner, Dominik
  4. Migration Opportunities and Human Capital Investments By Gehrke, Esther; Duquennois, Claire
  5. Cambodian Refugees By Kogure, Katsuo; Kubo, Masahiro
  6. Sensing Population Displacement from Ukraine Using Facebook Data: Potential Impacts and Settlement Areas By Rowe, Francisco; Neville, Ruth; González-Leonardo, Miguel
  7. Rescue on Stage: Border Enforcement and Public Attention in the Mediterranean Sea By Giacomo Battiston
  8. Migration, Technology Diffusion and Convergence in a Two-Country AK Growth Model By Ikhenaode, Bright Isaac; Parello, Carmelo Pierpaolo
  9. Intentions to Stay and Employment Prospects of Refugees from Ukraine By Tetyana Panchenko; Panu Poutvaara
  10. Populism and the Skill-Content of Globalization: Evidence from the Last 60 Years By Frédéric Docquier; Lucas Guichard; Stefano Iandolo; Hillel Rapoport; Ricardo Turati; Gonzague Vannoorenberghe
  11. How do Economies in EU-CEE Cope with Labour Shortages? By Vasily Astrov; Richard Grieveson; Doris Hanzl-Weiss; Sebastian Leitner; Isilda Mara; Hermine Vidovic; Zuzana Zavarská
  12. Working Paper 366 - Remittances and employment in family-owned firms: Evidence from Nigeria and Uganda By Ainembabazi John Herbert; Francis H. Kemeze

  1. By: Silvia Peracchi
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of local exposure to the migrant crisis on the local news market. Exploiting a narrow geographical setting, it explores a policy dating from June 2015, whereby French authorities introduced militarized controls at the Italian frontier. With the border controls in place, groups of migrants and asylum seekers who had planned to cross the border irregularly were pushed back to the Italian lands. With rejected migrants clustering at the border, natives residing along the Italian region were unevenly exposed to their settlement. Taking advantage of this unequal treatment as a natural experiment, this study uses novel data collected on the text and on the number of local news items for the border areas of Liguria, Italy, between 2011 and 2019. It documents that the backlog of migrants in the Italian border area was substantially mediatized: coverage of migration rose most in the most exposed municipalities. Conversely, anti-immigrant discourse in the news grew more in areas least directly in contact with the border. Exploring further this framing dimension, the bias effect turns out to be shaped by readers’ demand and to be closely associated with local news penetration. Finally, this study documents that anti-immigrant slant and voting preferences share a similar broad direction, while a related broad pattern also appears in hate-crime records.
    Keywords: media slant, EU borders, immigration, diff-in-diff
    JEL: F22 L82 F50
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Mayda, Anna Maria (Georgetown University); Orefice, Gianluca (Université Paris-Dauphine); Santoni, Gianluca (CEPII, Paris)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of skilled migrants on the innovation (patenting) activity of French firms between 1995 and 2010, and investigates the underlying mechanism. We present districtlevel and firm-level estimates and address endogeneity using a modified version of the shift-share instrument. Skilled migrants increase the number of patents at both the district and firm level. Large, high-productivity and capital-intensive firms benefit the most, in terms of innovation activity, from skilled immigrant workers. Importantly, we provide evidence that one channel through which the effect works is task specialization (as in Peri and Sparber, 2009). The arrival of skilled immigrants drives French skilled workers towards language-intensive, managerial tasks while foreign skilled workers specialize in technical, research-oriented tasks. This mechanism manifests itself in the estimated increase in the share of foreign inventors in patenting teams as a consequence of skilled migration. Through this channel, greater innovation is the result of productivity gains from specialization.
    Keywords: skilled immigration, innovation, patents
    JEL: F22 J61
    Date: 2022–11
  3. By: Ferwerda, Jeremy; Marbach, Moritz; Hangartner, Dominik
    Abstract: The welfare magnet hypothesis holds that immigrants are likely to relocate to regions with generous welfare benefits. Although this assumption has motivated extensive reforms to immigration policy and social programs, the empirical evidence remains contested. In this study, we assess detailed administrative records from Switzerland covering the full population of social assistance recipients between 2005 and 2015. By leveraging local variation in cash transfers and exogenous shocks to benefit levels, we identify how benefits shape within-country residential decisions. We find limited evidence that immigrants systematically move to localities with higher benefits. The lack of significant welfare migration within a context characterized by high variance in benefits and low barriers to movement suggests that the prevalence of this phenomenon may be overstated. These findings have important implications in the European setting, where subnational governments often possess discretion over welfare and parties frequently mobilize voters around the issue of “benefit tourism.”
    Date: 2022–06–30
  4. By: Gehrke, Esther; Duquennois, Claire
    Abstract: We examine how shocks to migration affect schooling in origin communities. We focus on the migration between Mexico and the United States, and explore how the expansion of the Secure Communities program in the US -- a federal data sharing program that substantially increased the risk of detainment and deportation for illegal migrants -- affected attendance, enrollment, and grades in Mexico. Our results suggest that the Secure Communities program increased attendance and enrollment in municipalities that had stronger migration ties with counties in the US that adopted the program early-on, which is consistent with the interpretation that the Secure Communities program implicitly raised returns to education. We find no effect on grades (within the ?first year of Secure Communities exposure).
    Date: 2022–09–26
  5. By: Kogure, Katsuo; Kubo, Masahiro
    Abstract: This paper examines the consequences of forced displacement for Cambodian refugees during the Cambodian conflict (1978-1991). Using complete count 1998 Census microdata, we focus on the two major groups of returnees, namely those from the neighboring countries of Thailand and Vietnam, which were under the control of different great powers, respectively Western and Eastern, during the Cold War. The former stayed in refugee camps with humanitarian assistance prior to repatriation and the latter did not. Consistent with the availability of humanitarian assistance, our analyses reveal that the returnees from Thailand attained higher levels of education - while those from Vietnam, by contrast, attained lower levels of education - than stayers. On the other hand, the two groups both experienced worse labor market outcomes, with employment shifts from the primary sector to the immature tertiary sector. Such adverse displacement impacts are relatively stronger for later returnees. We provide suggestive evidence that adverse displacement impacts can be attributed to congested labor markets resulting from limited access to available agricultural land, exacerbated by the high contamination of landmines and UXOs during the conflict. Our results demonstrate that forced displacement due to conflict in a developing country can be a potential source of future misallocation.
    Keywords: conflict, forced displacement, refugees, repatriation, Cambodia
    JEL: O15 J24 D74 N35
    Date: 2022–11
  6. By: Rowe, Francisco (University of Liverpool); Neville, Ruth; González-Leonardo, Miguel
    Abstract: The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has triggered the largest refugee crisis in Europe since WWII. As of 17 August 2022, over 6.6 million people have fled Ukraine. Large-scale efforts have been made to collect data and measure the scale of forced population displacements, and identify the major receiving countries of these population flows. Current evidence has thus focused on providing a country level representation of the unfolding refugee crisis. Less is known about the subnational patterns of population displacement within Ukraine, and potential subnational settlement areas of the continuous flow of Ukrainian refugees in major receiving countries. Highly granular geographical data in real time are critical to these ends to ensure the appropriate delivery of humanitarian assistance where it is most needed. Drawing on digital trace data from Meta-Facebook, this paper aims to identify and assess the potential settlement areas and impacts of population displacements on the demographic and economic structures of sub-national communities within and outside Ukraine. We reveal large population losses in eastern, southern and northern Ukraine, particularly Khersonska (59%), Kharkivska (55%) and Kyiv (45%), and gains in western areas, specially in Livivska (16%). We also find reductions in female and young populations across the country, and increases in male and older populations in central and western regions. We identify likely settlement areas in some countries (Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, Germany and Spain), noting that Ukrainian refugees are less likely to remain in countries which have recorded large refugee influxes but lack of local social networks, such as Romania and Turkey. We also reveal the potential impact of refugees moving to areas with old population structures and low unemployment. Yet, these impacts appear to differ across countries.
    Date: 2022–08–30
  7. By: Giacomo Battiston (University of Padova)
    Abstract: Irregular migrants take many risks when attempting to cross borders, and border enforcement policy has to balance deterrence and humanitarian motives. Exploiting georeferenced data on the universe of sea rescue operations for migrants crossing from Libya to Europe between 2014 and 2017, this paper makes three contributions. First, it shows that a more humanitarian rescue policy increases future crossing attempts. Second, it establishes that tougher border control increases the death risk for migrants. Third, it develops and estimates a dynamic model of border enforcement with endogenous public attention, which Iuse to obtain attention and policy counterfactuals. According to model results, temporary increases in public attention intensify incentives for rescuing migrants, and sample years policy was suboptimal in minimizing migrants’ deaths. Leveraging recent policy outsourcing border enforcement to Libyan authorities, I compute policymakers’ evaluation of irregularmigrants’ lives; this is an order of magnitude lower than comparable estimates for citizens.
    Keywords: irregular migration, border control, search and rescue, public attention
    Date: 2022–11
  8. By: Ikhenaode, Bright Isaac; Parello, Carmelo Pierpaolo
    Abstract: This paper proposes a two-country AK model of growth with cross-country knowledge diffusion and endogenous migration to study the relationship between migration, income inequality and economic growth. In contrast with mainstream AK literature, we show that introducing knowledge diffusion from frontier to non-frontier countries makes AK models predict conditional convergence, with migration playing an important role in speeding up the catching-up process of non-frontier countries. When testing the robustness of the policy implications of the AK literature, we find that subsidizing capital accumulation in frontier countries stimulates migration and worldwide growth, but also that it increases cross-country inequalities in terms of both income and technology. On the contrary, subsidizing capital accumulation in non-frontier countries reduces migration and mitigates inequalities worldwide, but has no effects on the long-run pace of economic growth of the two countries.
    Keywords: Two-Country Model; Endogenous Growth; Labor Migration; Technology Transfer; Growth Policy
    JEL: E1 F1 O4
    Date: 2022–11–11
  9. By: Tetyana Panchenko; Panu Poutvaara
    Abstract: We conducted two waves of quantitative online surveys and qualitative interviews of Ukrainian refugees in Germany. We asked whether they plan to stay in Germany and whether they are already employed or plan to search for employment, as well as the factors that determine these. We report the results of the second wave of surveys in this policy brief. The second wave of the survey clarified the socio-demographic characteristics of refugees from Ukraine, the circumstances of their arrival and adaptation in Germany, and demonstrates the dynamics of changes in their plans and intentions.
    Date: 2022
  10. By: Frédéric Docquier; Lucas Guichard; Stefano Iandolo; Hillel Rapoport; Ricardo Turati; Gonzague Vannoorenberghe
    Abstract: We analyze the long-run evolution of populism and explore the role of globalization in shaping such evolution. We use an imbalanced panel of 628 national elections in 55 countries over 60 years. A first novelty is our reliance on both standard (e.g., the ”volume margin”, or vote share of populist parties) and new (e.g., the ”mean margin”, a continuous vote-weighted average of populism scores of all parties) measures of the extent of populism. We show that levels of populism in the world have strongly fluctuated since the 1960s, peaking after each major economic crisis and reaching an all-time high – especially for right-wing populism in Europe – after the great recession of 2007-10. The second novelty is that when we investigate the ”global” determinants of populism, we look at trade and immigration jointly and consider their size as well as their skill-structure. Using OLS, PPML and IV regressions, our results consistently suggest that populism responds to globalization shocks in a way which is closely linked to the skill structure of these shocks. Imports of low-skill labor intensive goods increase both total and right-wing populism at the volume and mean margins, and more so in times of de-industrialization and of internet expansion. Low-skill immigration, on the other hand, tends to induce a transfer of votes from left-wing to right-wing populist parties, apparently without affecting the total. Finally, imports of high-skill labor intensive goods, as well as high-skill immigration, tend to reduce the volume of populism.
    Keywords: elections, populism, immigration, trade
    JEL: D72 F22 F52 J61
    Date: 2022
  11. By: Vasily Astrov (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Richard Grieveson (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Doris Hanzl-Weiss (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Sebastian Leitner (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Isilda Mara (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Hermine Vidovic (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw); Zuzana Zavarská (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw)
    Abstract: The EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe (EU-CEE) have been experiencing increasing labour shortages, which only briefly subsided in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ongoing demographic decline suggests that labour shortages will only get stronger over time. As a result, the bargaining power of labour has increased, wages have been generally rising ahead of labour productivity, and industrial action (strikes) – the level of which has remained low in recent decades – has emerged in some instances. In the face of labour and skill shortages, people have been investing in education. The share of employees with tertiary education has increased, and vocational training has gained in importance, although active labour market policies have been used only selectively. Employers have increasingly been investing in fixed assets, especially in manufacturing, and the degree of robotisation has risen strongly. Despite domestic concerns that automation would generate massive job losses, our findings suggest that capital deepening has taken place faster where labour was in higher demand. Thus, labour was not substituted with capital, but rather the complementary effect prevailed. Employment actually increased in EU-CEE over the past two decades – despite the shrinking working-age population. Employers could hire not only the formerly unemployed, but also the formerly inactive, and used the relaxed immigration policies to attract foreign workers, especially from Ukraine and the Western Balkans. Czechia, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia and most recently Poland have become net receivers of migrants, while in Bulgaria immigration largely compensates for the natives who go abroad. However, immigration from non-European countries as a general solution to the problem of labour shortages in the region is highly problematic in the current domestic political context. Overall, both our findings for the EU-CEE region over recent years and the experience of Western Europe during the ‘golden age’ (1950-1973) suggest that labour shortages are not in themselves an obstacle to rapid structural change and income growth. However, for such an economic model to be sustainable, more active government policies will be needed, such as greater public investment in education and training, higher minimum wages in order to encourage automation, and more extensive welfare networks in order to deal with the possible negative short-run side-effects of automation.
    Keywords: labour shortages, trade unions, migration policy, active labour market policy, investment, vocational training, ‘golden age’, populism
    JEL: J21 J23 J24 J31 J52 J61 N14 N34
    Date: 2022–11
  12. By: Ainembabazi John Herbert (African Development Bank); Francis H. Kemeze (African Development Bank)
    Abstract: The link between remittance transfers and job creation in recipient communities offers a kind of private-sector led economic growth. This link has been largely ignored in migration research. Using nationally representative panel household data collected from Nigeria and Uganda, we investigate the relationship between job creation in familyowned firms and remittances. We measure remittances as a share of household income in order to capture income and substitution effects. We find that employment of family members into family-owned firms is high in households receiving small amounts of remittances relative to their household income. As the share of remittance transfers in household income increases, the likelihood of hiring family members decreases as it increases for hired workers. The threshold point appears to occur when remittance transfers contribute more than a half of household income. The implication of our findings is that remittance transfers induce an income effect by increasing reservation wage of family members which reduces their likelihood of working in family business, which in turn opens up employment opportunities for non-family individuals. Our findings point to a sign of hidden potential of remittances to spur job creation in migrants’ communities if policies to increase the size of remittance transfers are put in place.
    Keywords: Remittances, Family-owned firmes, employment, economic growth JEL classification: D13, F24, O12, J22
    Date: 2022–07–08

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.