nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2023‒11‒06
twelve papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura,  La Trobe University

  1. Geographic Variation in Healthcare Utilization: The Role of Physicians By Ivan Badinski; Amy Finkelstein; Matthew Gentzkow; Peter Hull
  2. Fiscal Federalism and the Role of the Income Tax By Roger H. Gordon
  3. Tax-Induced Emigration: Who Flees High Taxes? Evidence from the Netherlands By José Victor C. Giarola; Olivier Marie; Frank Cörvers; Hans Schmeets
  4. Does foreign aid reduce migration? By Fuchs, Andreas; Gröger, André; Heidland, Tobias; Wellner, Lukas
  5. Finding Love Abroad: Who Marries a Migrant and What Do They Gain? By Dziadula, Eva; Zavodny, Madeline
  6. Are Immigrants Particularly Entrepreneurial? Policy Lessons from a Selective Immigration System By Green, David A.; Liu, Huju; Ostrovsky, Yuri; Picot, Garnett
  7. Responses to Temperature Shocks: Labor Markets and Migration Decisions in El Salvador By Ibáñez, Ana María; Quigua, Juliana; Romero, Jimena; Velásquez, Andrea
  8. Migrants and Expatriates: Double Standards or Coloniality By Elisa De Carvalho
  9. The Within-Country Distribution of Brain Drain and Brain Gain Effects: A Case Study on Senegal By Bocquier, Philippe; Cha’Ngom, Narcisse; Docquier, Frédéric; Machado, Joël
  10. Firm employment dynamics in Kazakhstan after sudden Russian immigration By David R. DeRemer; Yelzhas Kadyr; Aigerim Yergabulova
  11. Far East and Far North: how to prevent an outflow of young people By Lyashok, Victor (Ляшок, Виктор); Mkrtchyan, Nikita (Мкртчян, Никита); Florinskaya, Yuliya (Флоринская, Юлия)
  12. Migrants and local development in the Italian Inner Areas: opportunities and critical issues By Giulia Lang

  1. By: Ivan Badinski; Amy Finkelstein; Matthew Gentzkow; Peter Hull
    Abstract: We study the role of physicians in driving geographic variation of US healthcare utilization. We estimate a model that separates variation in average utilization of Medicare beneficiaries due to physicians, non-physician supply side factors, and patient demand. The model is identified by migration of patients and physicians across areas, as well as by variation in within-area matching. We find that physicians vary greatly in the intensity with which they treat otherwise similar patients, and that at least a third of geographic differences in healthcare utilization can be explained by differences in average physician treatment intensity. Conservatively, physicians are three times as important as non-physician supply-side factors in explaining geographic variation. Around three-fifths of physicians’ role comes from differences across areas in physician practice styles within the same specialty, while the other two-fifths reflects differences across areas in physician specialty mix.
    JEL: H51 I1 I11
    Date: 2023–10
  2. By: Roger H. Gordon
    Abstract: This paper rethinks the design of the income tax by assuming that the objective of the tax is not to redistribute from rich to poor but instead to provide some insurance to individuals against the uncertainties they face in their future earnings, a motivation for the tax proposed in Buchanan (1976). The income tax provides insurance by collecting money on net from individuals to the extent they end up doing well to finance net transfers to them when they end up doing badly. Individuals differ in the amount of future risks they face. These heterogeneous tastes for insurance provide a rationale for states to offer heterogeneous tax/transfer programs, each state attracting a different clientele in the population. Given the ease of household migration, state tax policies generate fiscal externalities to other states. The paper explores as well possible Federal interventions to improve on the equilibrium choices states make for their tax policies.
    JEL: H21 H24 H31 H71
    Date: 2023–10
  3. By: José Victor C. Giarola (Maastricht University); Olivier Marie (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Frank Cörvers (Maastricht University); Hans Schmeets (Maastricht University)
    Abstract: We study the impact of a policy change in the Netherlands that reduced preferential tax treatment duration for high-skilled migrants arriving from specific countries in certain years. Utilizing comprehensive tax and population data, we document substantial tax-induced emigration responses, primarily driven by the top 1% of earners. Highly mobile individuals within the top 5% also emigrate sooner, particularly to competing countries offering tax-breaks to attract skilled workers. Crucially, we uncover no change in mobility behavior among lower-earning workers. The increased tax receipts from lower-income individuals who remain offset the loss from fleeing high earners, making the policy fiscally cost-neutral.
    Keywords: Taxation, immigration, labor income, Netherlands.
    JEL: F22 H31 J61
    Date: 2023–10–12
  4. By: Fuchs, Andreas; Gröger, André; Heidland, Tobias; Wellner, Lukas
    Abstract: The widespread use of foreign aid to address the "root causes" of irregular migration lacks a robust empirical foundation. In a new study (Fuchs, A., A. Groeger, T. Heidland, and L. Wellner (2023). The Effect of Foreign Aid on Migration: Global Micro-Evidence from World Bank Projects. Kiel Working Paper 2257) that we summarize here for a wider audience, we provide the first comprehensive causal analysis that examines micro-level evidence across all developing countries that received assistance from the World Bank between 2008 and 2019. Our analysis is the first to disentangle the impacts of foreign aid on various aspects of migration: individuals' aspirations, capabilities, and actual migration patterns. In alignment with the notion of utilizing aid to mitigate the root causes of irregular migration, our study reveals that the announcements and disbursements of new aid projects significantly reduce people's migration aspirations. This effect is temporary in nature and is notably absent in fragile countries. Over the longer term, the critical factor is whether aid ultimately enhances living conditions. Our findings provide some evidence supporting this, as improvements in living conditions bolster individuals' capabilities. This can lead to increased migration, yet the notable difference is that these individuals tend to follow regular channels for migration. These findings hold substantial significance for policymakers and those involved in foreign aid allocation that we discuss towards the end of this policy brief.
    Keywords: Migration, Foreign Aid, Root causes, Irregular migration, Refugees, Asylum, Development, Migration, Entwicklungshilfe, Fluchtursachen, Irreguläre Migration, Flüchtlinge, Asyl, Entwicklung
    Date: 2023
  5. By: Dziadula, Eva; Zavodny, Madeline
    Abstract: This study explores the role of individual and local marriage market characteristics in whether recently wed U.S. residents "imported" a spouse instead of marrying someone already present in the country. Our findings indicate that U.S. natives and immigrants whose spouse is a "marriage migrant" (someone who arrived in the U.S. the same year as the marriage occurred) are positively selected along some dimensions but negatively along others. The results also suggest that U.S. immigration policy plays an important role in whether immigrants bring in a spouse. We further investigate the trade-offs in spouse characteristics associated with having a marriage-migrant spouse. There appear to be several advantages to marrying a migrant, including that marriage-migrant spouses tend to be relatively younger and less likely to have been previously married. Immigrants' gains to marrying a migrant are bigger among naturalized citizens, showcasing the desirability of someone who can easily sponsor a spouse for permanent residence.
    Keywords: immigration, marriage markets, assortative matching
    JEL: J12 J15 K37
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Green, David A. (University of British Columbia, Vancouver); Liu, Huju (Statistics Canada); Ostrovsky, Yuri (Statistics Canada); Picot, Garnett (Institute for Research on Public Policy, and Research and Evaluation Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada)
    Abstract: Firm ownership is a dening feature of immigrant adaptation: 41% of immigrants own a firm at some point in their first 10 years post-arrival. We use Canadian data linking immigrant arrival records with individual and firm tax data to examine the process of entering firm ownership for immigrants. Higher immigrant firm ownership rates are mainly due to nonincorporated firm ownership, which looks like a last resort. Human capital plays no role in the opening of preferable, incorporated firms. Immigrants are not more entrepreneurial in terms of opening incorporated firms with employees, and standard policy levers appear to have limited effects.
    Keywords: immigration, entrepreneurs, human capital
    JEL: J61
    Date: 2023–10
  7. By: Ibáñez, Ana María; Quigua, Juliana; Romero, Jimena; Velásquez, Andrea
    Abstract: By 2017, one-quarter of people born in El Salvador were estimated to be living in the U.S. We show that extreme temperatures have negatively affected agricultural production and increased international migration from El Salvador. We find that labor markets act as a transmission mechanism of the negative effects of weather shocks on agricultural workers, who react by migrating internationally or reallocating within local labor markets. However, these responses differ by landownership status and access to risk-coping mechanisms. Our results suggest that, despite the current anti-immigrant political climate, there should be a global responsibility relative to the consequences of climate change.
    Keywords: Migration;Temperature Shocks;El Salvador
    JEL: Q54 O15 J43
    Date: 2022–05
  8. By: Elisa De Carvalho (Department of Social Sciences and Economics, Sapienza University of Rome)
    Abstract: In recent years, states have exported wars and "produced" millions of refugees and internally displaced persons. We have Ukraine with over 8 million, Syria with about 6 million, Venezuela (about 5 million), South Sudan (between 2 and 3 million), and so on. Scholarship has evidenced that different groups of migrants receive different types of support and treatment. "Immigrants" (migrants, displaced persons, refugees, and asylum seekers) are often seen as low-skilled workers from developing countries and are ethnically marked (Leinonen, 2012). On the other hand, expatriates are stereotyped as white, high-skilled workers from rich countries (Cranston, 2017). Another example is digital nomads, modern "premium migrants." These categories illustrate how global inequalities and power relations are embedded in the migration structure (Sandoz & Santi, 2019), reproducing exclusion and classification. Economic migrants, expatriates, and digital nomads are groups directly affected by the power relations inherent to the dynamics of the global economy and international politics. Through a literature review and theoretical discussion and using the example of economic migrants, expatriates, and digital nomads, this paper aims to draw attention to how colonial and historical processes have led to the construction and perception of contemporary mobilities. These epistemological constructions play a crucial role in how host societies and policymakers deal with migration, what tools they choose, how policies are implemented, and how problems are identified, understood, and addressed (as a problem or not).
    Keywords: colonialism; international law; expatriate; migrant; digital nomads.
    JEL: F54 K37 F22 J60 J15 K37
    Date: 2023–06
  9. By: Bocquier, Philippe (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg); Cha’Ngom, Narcisse (LISER); Docquier, Frédéric (LISER); Machado, Joël (LISER)
    Abstract: Existing empirical literature provides converging evidence that selective emigration enhances human capital accumulation in the world's poorest countries. However, the within-country distribution of such brain gain effects has received limited attention. Focusing on Senegal, we provide evidence that the brain gain mechanism primarily benefits the wealthiest regions that are internationally connected and have better access to education. Conversely, human capital responses are negligible in regions lacking international connectivity, and even negative in better connected regions with inadequate educational opportunities. These results extend to internal migration, implying that highly vulnerable populations are trapped in the least developed areas.
    Keywords: human capital, migration, selection, brain drain, brain gain, Senegal
    JEL: J24 J61 O15 R23 E24
    Date: 2023–10
  10. By: David R. DeRemer (Nazarbayev University, Graduate School of Business); Yelzhas Kadyr (KU Leuven, Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen, Vlaams Instituut voor Economie en Samenleving (VIVES)); Aigerim Yergabulova (Nazarbayev University, Graduate School of Business)
    Abstract: Kazakhstan was the top destination country for Russian immigrants in 2022, a year when Russian emigration sharply increased due to new international sanctions and war mobilization. The circumstances offer a rare opportunity to explore how a large sudden skill-abundant immigration within an economic union affects firm employment dynamics for a middle-income receiving country. Kazakhstan and Russia share the world's longest continuous land border, so immigration effects are regionally dispersed rather than concentrated solely in cities, and Kazakhstan offers business registers data to explore firm-level employment dynamics. Absent fine regional data on immigration flows, our empirical approach uses a pre-war share of the Russian population in 215 districts of Kazakhstan as a reduced-form instrument for the treatment of Russian immigration. We find no pre-war trends in firm employment growth related to the Russian district population shares. Using difference-in-differences estimation, we find large effects of 2022 Russian immigration on the employment growth for Kazakhstan's incumbent firms in more affected regions. The employment growth is larger for small firms, young foreign-owned firms, older domestic firms, and ICT firms, and results are robust to the exclusion or inclusion of Kazakhstan's two major cities of Almaty and Astana. We estimate that Kazakhstan's regions, excluding the two major cities, would have experienced a private sector employment fall of 86, 500 in 2022 rather than the actual increase of 21, 500 if Russian immigration flows had not occurred.
    Keywords: gender pay inequality, occupations, foreign ownership, Kazakhstan
    Date: 2023–09
  11. By: Lyashok, Victor (Ляшок, Виктор) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration); Mkrtchyan, Nikita (Мкртчян, Никита) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration); Florinskaya, Yuliya (Флоринская, Юлия) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)
    Abstract: The outflow of the population of young working age from the regions of the Far East and the Far North is a serious constraint on the economic and social development of these regions. Unfavorable climatic working and living conditions, underdeveloped economic and social infrastructure, distance from development centers, relatively low wages and lack of career and personal prospects - these factors encourage a significant part of young people to leave the region of the Far East and Far North. The objectives of the study are to answer the following questions: • What is the scale of departure of young people from the Far Eastern Federal District and the Far North? • What are the reasons for their departure? • How reliable are disposal volume statistics? • Is it possible for at least some of the young people to return to the regions of origin and under what conditions? The study was conducted on the basis of Rosstat statistics on the volume and structure of internal migration in Russia for 2011-2020, the results of a sample survey of the labor force in 2029-2022, as well as Rosstat reports “Socio-economic situation in Russia” in 2018-2022. The study shows that published statistics underestimate the real scale of the outflow of young workers from the regions of the Far East and Far North due to the so-called “auto-return” process. The North and Far East are losing young people during migration exchanges with large and major cities in the European part of the country. Large cities of the North and Far East compensate for the loss due to the influx from the periphery of these same regions. Retaining young people in the labor markets of the regions where they were born is only possible if there is an influx of investment into the regional economy and social sphere, and this process should not have the character of a short-term campaign, but be a long-term guarantee for several generations of workers.
    Keywords: young working age population, labor market, workplaces, salary, working career, migration, auto-return, Far East, Far North and equated areas
    JEL: R23 J6
    Date: 2023–10–11
  12. By: Giulia Lang (Department of Social Sciences and Economics, Sapienza University of Rome)
    Abstract: As a result of the management of the health emergency linked to the spread of the Coronavirus, the debate on the Inner Areas has been enriched with new insights: there is a renewed interest in these territories both in the world of academic research and in public debate. The pandemic phenomenon has led to the emergence of alternative paths to the logic of agglomeration and has led some scholars to theorize that in the future it will be possible a return to the small villages. In this regard, it's worth highlighting that today many administrations of small villages - thanks to the spread of certain processes also facilitated by the pandemic - want to offer services in a new way, different from the city model, through innovative practices. In addition, in recent years a further line of reflection has developed on the relationship between possible rebirths of inner areas and migrations. It is an interesting and at times controversial line of research that attempts to understand the delicate interaction between small places, that were marginalised for too long compared to the great global processes, and immigration. Through various documentary sources, the research aims to provide new insights into the Italian inner areas and the identification of possible case studies. This paper aims to better understand the phenomena related to small villages and their potential for growth.
    Keywords: Inner areas, Migration, Southern Italy, Calabria, Local development
    JEL: P25 R23 R38 O35
    Date: 2023–05

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