nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2023‒03‒20
nine papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. The Fall of Constantinople and the Rise of the West By Andreas Link
  2. Back For Business: The Link Between Foreign Experience and Entrepreneurial Activity in Latvia By Kata Fredheim; Marija Krumina; Anders Paalzow; Zane Varpina
  3. Can Tax Incentives Bring Brains Back? Returnees Tax Schemes and High-Skilled Migration in Italy By Jacopo Bassetto; Giuseppe Ippedico
  4. The Number of Employed Immigrants Has Increased in Finland By Kangasharju, Aki; Kauhanen, Antti; Kalmbach, Aino; Valkonen, Tarmo
  5. SAME JOB, DIFFERENT WAGE FOR MIGRANTS? Nicaraguan migrants and living wage in Costa Rica By Koen Voorend; Richard Anker; Martha Anker
  6. Crossing Borders: Labor Market Effects of European Integration By Illing, Hannah
  7. Northern Triangle Undocumented Migration to the United States By Ms. Alina Carare; Mr. Yorbol Yakhshilikov; Catherine Koh
  8. Migration Restrictions Can Create Gender Inequality: The Story of China's Left-Behind Children By Xuwen Gao; Wenquan Liang; Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak; Ran Song
  9. The Decision to Emigrate in Six MENA Countries: The Role of Post-Revolutionary Stress By Fakih, Ali; El Baba, Malak

  1. By: Andreas Link
    Abstract: The Renaissance era in Western Europe was marked by a flourishing of economic and cultural life that gave rise to numerous discoveries and inventions. This paper studies the role played by Greek migrants in this process. Using a newly constructed dataset on Greek migrants in Europe after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, I show that a Greek presence in the second half of the fifteenth century increased city growth in the sixteenth century. In terms of mechanisms, I find that a Greek presence increased the available knowledge stock in astronomy, mathematics, and medicine – fields in which ancient Greek and Byzantine scholars were especially advanced. Finally, I document an increase in upper-tail human capital and inventions in these cities. In this way, the findings illustrate the important role of Greek migrants in disseminating scientific knowledge in early modern Europe and show their positive impact on city growth during that time.
    Keywords: Economic development, economic history, human capital, innovation, migration
    JEL: N13 N33 O15 O33 O47
    Date: 2023–03
  2. By: Kata Fredheim (Stockholm School of Economics in Riga; Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies); Marija Krumina (Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies); Anders Paalzow (Stockholm School of Economics in Riga; Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies); Zane Varpina (Stockholm School of Economics in Riga; Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies)
    Abstract: Research shows that return migrants have a higher propensity to set up an entrepreneurial activity or be self-employed compared to non-migrants. We take a multidisciplinary approach and empirically study the case of Latvia as a migration donor country to learn how re-migrants participate in entrepreneurship back at home. We are interested if foreign experience can be seen as a vehicle for entrepreneurial activity and if it is worth looking at return migrants as agents of business growth and innovation. Not only we measure the fact of being entrepreneurial, but also explore sources that contribute to the higher propensity, attitudes to creating own business venture, level of ambitions and population sentiment towards entrepreneurs. Based on a nationally representative adult population survey of 8000 observations, we find that early-stage entrepreneurial activity, established business ownership as well as intrapreneurship for return migrants exceed that of non-migrant population. We find that self-perceived capabilities to start business is higher for those who have lived abroad, and fear of failure is lower; re-migrants also have better businesses networks and have higher growth and export ambitions. The return migrant entrepreneurship in Latvia is not necessity driven, rather motivated by opportunities. Migration experience, length of stay aboard and capital accumulated abroad are found to be significant predictors of probability to become entrepreneur when controlled for socioeconomic and personal factors.
    Date: 2022–08
  3. By: Jacopo Bassetto; Giuseppe Ippedico
    Abstract: Brain drain is a growing concern for many countries experiencing large emigration rates of their highly educated citizens. While several European countries have designed preferential tax schemes to attract high-skilled individuals, there is limited empirical evidence on the effectiveness of fiscal incentives in a context of brain drain, and on migration responses beyond top earners. In this paper we investigate the effects of the Italian 2010 tax scheme “Controesodo”, which granted a generous income tax exemption to young high-skilled expatriates who relocate to Italy. Eligibility requires a college degree as well as being born in 1969 or later, which creates suitable quasi-experimental conditions to identify the effect of tax incentives. Using a Triple Difference design and administrative data on return migration, we find that eligible individuals are 27% more likely to move back to Italy post-reform. Additionally, using social security data from the main origin country of Italian returnees (Germany), we uncover significant effects throughout the wage distribution, suggesting that mobility in response to tax incentives is a broad phenomenon not limited to top earners. A cost-benefit analysis reveals that the direct fiscal impact of the reform – a lower bound of the total effect in the presence of human capital externalities – is marginally positive, by virtue of the tax scheme targeting young high-skilled individuals.
    JEL: J60 H20 F22
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Kangasharju, Aki; Kauhanen, Antti; Kalmbach, Aino; Valkonen, Tarmo
    Abstract: Abstract The decline of working age population makes it difficult to find employees. In this report we analyze the evolution of immigrant employment in Finland and the fiscal impact of immigration as well as the effect on the labor market. We show that the number of employed immigrants as well as immigrants’ employment rate in Finland has increased. We review the economic impacts of immigration. We show that the fiscal impact of immigration depends heavily on the characteristics of immigrants and the time of immigration and therefore no general conclusions can be made on the economic impact. However, we show that full-time employees pay more taxes than receive direct income transfers and therefore their direct fiscal impact is positive. This is true also for employees employed at the lowest pay grades in the collective agreements.
    Keywords: Immigration, Employment, Public finance
    JEL: J61 E24
    Date: 2023–03–08
  5. By: Koen Voorend (Anker Research Institute); Richard Anker (Anker Research Institute); Martha Anker (Anker Research Institute)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the argument that the cost of a decent standard of living is lower for migrants than for nationals when the former have family members left behind in a low-wage, low-cost country. The wage differential between the host country and the country of origin is not only a motivating factor behind migration, but also partly a reflection of differences in the cost of living. This paper therefore analyses whether, following this rationale, a lower wage for migrant workers can be in a sense justified if one ignores ethical concerns around the need for “equal pay for equal work” argument. We analyze this argument for Nicaraguan migrants in rural Costa Rica based on two existing living wage studies which found that the cost of a basic but decent living standard is 2.5 times higher in the receiving country Costa Rica. We f ind that the empirical foundation for justifying a lower wage for migrants based on migrants having lower living costs because their family members left behind have lower living costs is not confirmed. This unexpected result is due to two main factors: (i) migrants have double costs for some expenditures (like housing) as well as considerable migration-related costs such as fees, increased phone costs, and costs for transfers, and (ii) the contribution to family income of a spouse is considerably lower for migrants because their spouse is earning in a low wage country.
    Keywords: Living wage, migration, immigrant workers, agricultural labor markets, discrimination, living costs.
    JEL: D1 D10 J3 J43 J6 J7 J8 O1 O15
    Date: 2021–06
  6. By: Illing, Hannah (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: This paper studies the labor market effects of out- and in-migration in the context of cross-border commuting. It investigates an EU policy reform that granted Czech citizens full access to the German labor market, resulting in a Czech commuter outflow across the border to Germany. Exploiting the fact that the reform specifically impacted the Czech and German border regions, I use a matched difference-in-differences design to estimate its effects on local labor markets in both countries. Using a novel dataset on Czech regions, I show that municipalities in the Czech border region experienced a decrease in unemployment rates due to the worker outflow, and a corresponding increase in vacancies. For German border municipalities, I find evidence for slower employment growth (long-term) and slower wage growth (short-term), but no displacement effects for incumbent native workers.
    Keywords: out-migration, in-migration, local labor markets
    JEL: J61 J15 R23
    Date: 2023–02
  7. By: Ms. Alina Carare; Mr. Yorbol Yakhshilikov; Catherine Koh
    Abstract: Undocumented migration from the Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) to the United States has been steadily increasing over the past 30 years, accelerating at times. The paper investigates what factors could explain this fact, by estimating an investment decision model, using annual data over 1990-2019. Economic labor market conditions (real wages and unemployment rates, especially in the U.S.) play a major role in explaining undocumented migration. Less explored drivers of undocumented migration tied to living conditions at home also explain well undocumented migration (natural disasters, coffee production, higher temperatures, and homicide rates). Tighter border enforcement measures act as a deterrent, and perceptions regarding changes of these measures could also drive up undocumented migration at times. Policies that address the root causes of migration at home, including with the U.S. help, are essential in reducing the difference between perceived benefits and expected costs of migration.
    Keywords: International migration; undocumented migration; U.S. Department of Agriculture; investment decision theory; U.S. Department of Homeland Security; NT country; Migration; Real wages; Income; Unemployment rate; Natural disasters; Caribbean; Western Hemisphere; Global
    Date: 2023–01–27
  8. By: Xuwen Gao; Wenquan Liang; Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak; Ran Song
    Abstract: About 11% of the Chinese population are rural-urban migrants with a rural hukou that severely restricts their children's access to urban schools. As a result, 69 million children are left behind in rural areas. We use two regression-discontinuity designs - based on school enrollment age cutoffs and a 2014 policy change that more severely restricted migrants' access to schooling - to document that migrants become discontinuously more likely to leave middle-school-aged daughters (but not sons) behind in poor rural areas without either parent present exactly when schooling becomes expensive and restricted. The effect is larger when the daughter has a male sibling. Migrant parents send significantly less remittances back to daughters than sons. Although China's hukou mobility restrictions are not gender-specific in intent, they have larger adverse effects on girls. Rural residents adjacent to cities that experience shocks to labor demand after China's accession to the WTO are more likely to separate from children to take advantage of new opportunities in cities. Those workers earn much more and advance economically, but longitudinal data reveals that their children complete fewer years of schooling, remain poor, and have worse mental and physical health later in life.
    JEL: J13 J16 R23
    Date: 2023–02
  9. By: Fakih, Ali (Lebanese American University); El Baba, Malak (Lebanese American University)
    Abstract: This paper studies the determinants of emigration from six Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries in light of the Arab Spring of 2011. The aim is to determine if the economically depressing events which occurred as a result of the Arab Spring, resulted in brain drain for many countries. The paper's analysis is conducted using the Arab Transformation Project dataset of the year 2014 by employing an ordered probit model. The main conclusion of the paper is that sentiments of unhappiness appear to be the main determinant of the decision to emigrate. Other post-revolutionary feelings include lack of trust and political and democratic discontent, which highly encourage emigration decisions. In addition, socio-economic factors, such as being young, being male, and being highly educated are all contributing factors to the willingness to emigrate. However, married individuals are less likely to consider emigration.
    Keywords: Arab Spring, emigration, unhappiness, attitude
    JEL: C25 J60 O15
    Date: 2023–02

This nep-mig issue is ©2023 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.