nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2024‒02‒12
eighteen papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura,  La Trobe University

  1. DACA, Mobility Investments, and Economic Outcomes of Immigrants and Natives By Jimena Villanueva Kiser; Riley Wilson
  2. Social Identity and Labor Market Outcomes of Internal Migrant Workers By Cai, Shu; Zimmermann, Klaus F.
  3. Development and Validation of Women’s Empowerment in Migration Index (WEMI) By Sufian, Farha D.; Alvi, Muzna Fatima; Ratna, Nazmun N.; Ringler, Claudia; Choudhury, Zahid ul Arefin
  4. The Copernican Revolution of Luxembourg Nationality: From an Insular to an Expansive Citizenship Regime By Denis Scuto
  5. Citizenship, math and gender: Exploring immigrant students' choice of majors By Murat, Marina
  6. From Border Opening to Political Closing: Immigration and Voting for the Far Right in Switzerland By Alrababah, Ala; Beerli, Andreas; Hangartner, Dominik; Ward, Dalston
  7. The Labor Market Effects of Restricting Refugees' Employment Opportunities By Ahrens, Achim; Beerli, Andreas; Hangartner, Dominik; Kurer, Selina; Siegenthaler, Michael
  8. Men's premarital migration and marriage payments: Evidence from Indonesia By Champeaux, Hugues; Gautrain, Elsa; Marazyan, Karine
  9. The Demographics of Urban Migrants Since the Pandemic By Stephan D. Whitaker
  10. The impact of foreign relations between Sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab Golf states on African migrants in the region By Kohnert, Dirk
  11. Migration Fear and Stock Price Crash Risk By Kuntal K. Das; Mona Yaghoubi
  12. Ethnic Identity and Educational Outcomes By Randazzo, Teresa; Piracha, Matloob
  13. Income aspirations, migration, and investments on and off the farm: Evidence from rural Tajikistan By Bloem, Jeffrey R.; Lambrecht, Isabel
  14. Where Did the Workers Go? The Effect of COVID Immigration Restrictions on Post-Pandemic Labor Market Tightness By Maggie Isaacson; Cassandra Marks; Lowell R. Ricketts; Hannah Rubinton
  15. Slowdown in Immigration, Labor Shortages, and Declining Skill Premia By Federico S. Mandelman; Yang Yu; Francesco Zanetti; Andrei Zlate
  16. Creating Gender-Responsive Literacy Programs toward Health and Social Security Systems Inclusion of Filipino Migrant Domestic Workers in East Asia By Celero, Jocelyn O.; Garabiles, Melissa R.; Katigbak-Montoya, Evangeline O.
  17. Meeting Skill Needs for the Global Green Transition: A Role for Labour Migration? By Sam Huckstep; Helen Dempster
  18. Changing Residential Mobility Considerations: The Case of Public Housing in Israel By Tamar Ramot-Nyska

  1. By: Jimena Villanueva Kiser (Brigham Young University); Riley Wilson (Brigham Young University)
    Abstract: Exploiting variation created by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), we document the effects of immigrant legalization on immigrant mobility investments and economic outcomes. We provide new evidence that DACA increased both geographic and job mobility of young immigrants, often leading them to high-paying labor markets and licensed occupations. We then examine whether these gains to immigrants spill over and affect labor market outcomes of U.S.-born workers. Exploiting immigrant enclaves and source-country flows of DACA-eligible immigrants to isolate plausibly exogenous variation in the concentration of DACA recipients, we show that in labor markets where more of the working-age population can access legal protection through DACA, U.S.-born workers see little-to-no change in employment rates and actually observe increases in wage earnings after DACA’s implementation. These gains are concentrated among older and more educated workers, suggesting immigrant workers complement U.S.-born workers and immigrant legalization generates broader local labor market benefits.
    Keywords: Legal states, DACA, immigration, geographic mobility, job mobility, occupational licensing, local labor markets
    JEL: J15 K37 R23
    Date: 2024–01
  2. By: Cai, Shu; Zimmermann, Klaus F.
    Abstract: Previous research on internal mobility has neglected the role of local identity contrary to studies analyzing international migration. Examining social identity and labor market outcomes in China, the country with the largest internal mobility in the world, closes the gap. Instrumental variable estimation and careful robustness checks suggest that identifying as local associates with higher migrants' hourly wages and lower hours worked, although monthly earnings seem to remain largely unchanged. Migrants with strong local identity are more likely to use local networks in job search, and to obtain jobs with higher average wages and lower average hours worked, suggesting the value of integration policies.
    Keywords: assimilation, social identity, labor market, migration, internal mobility, China's Great Migration
    JEL: J22 J31 J61 Z13
    Date: 2024
  3. By: Sufian, Farha D.; Alvi, Muzna Fatima; Ratna, Nazmun N.; Ringler, Claudia; Choudhury, Zahid ul Arefin
    Abstract: There is little evidence on the association between women’s migration, empowerment, and well-being, driven in part due to difficulty in measuring empowerment in the migration context. To better understand these linkages, we developed a Women’s Empowerment in Migration Index (WEMI) and validated it with survey of 1019 returnee female migrants in Bangladesh, who had returned after working internationally, mostly from countries in West Asia. By incorporating indicators of subjective well-being from migration literature into measures of empowerment, our paper advances research over earlier assessments of women’s experiences in the migration process beyond seemingly objective indicators, such as income, health, and economic welfare. We find that 14% of all migrant women in our sample could be classified as being empowered. Lack of membership in groups, restricted mobility, and lack of asset ownership are the largest contributors to migrant women’s disempowerment in our sample. We find that WEMI is strongly correlated with other measures of well-being, including mental health and livelihood-efficacy. Women with higher empowerment scores are also less likely to experience discriminatory labor practices and unsafe work conditions. With broad applicability to migrants from low and middle-income countries, WEMI can be used as a tool, helping to identify sources of disempowerment, and enabling stakeholders to develop interventions targeting the welfare of women migrant workers.
    Keywords: gender; migration; women's empowerment; income; health; economic aspects; assets; mental health; livelihoods; discrimination; working conditions; BANGLADESH; SOUTH ASIA; ASIA
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Denis Scuto
    Abstract: : Over the past 15 years, Luxembourg nationality legislation has undergone a paradigmatic shift frombeing an “insular regime” that restricted access to citizenship for both immigrants and emigrants, as well as their descendants, to an “expansive regime” that is inclusive towards these groups.This paper addresses this “Copernican revolution”, outlining the comprehensive legal changes, assessing the impact of citizenship acquisition, and analysing the factors that explain the paradigmshift in Luxembourg nationality law in the new century. The paper focuses on two elements of thisshift: the sizeable impact of new option procedures for immigrants and their descendants, and theunintended creation of a second strategic citizenship for contemporary descendants of Luxembourgemigrants from the 19th century. The paper concludes that the changes in Luxembourgish nationalitylaw reflect simultaneous political pressures for de- -ethnicisation and re-ethnicisation in response toglobalization and international migration.
    Keywords: Luxembourg nationality legislation reforms, citizenship regimes, strategic citizenship, citizenship
    Date: 2023–07
  5. By: Murat, Marina
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether citizenship of immigrant students in the host country influences their choice of majors, and whether these effects differ by gender. Using detailed students' data from an Italian university, combined with characteristics of the countries of origin, I examine the effects of citizenship on enrolments in educational areas categorized by their mathematical content. Results indicate a decrease in the likelihood of enrolment in math-intensive fields among students who acquire citizenship, particularly among males, leading to a reduction in gender gaps. Moreover, gender gaps are smaller and show a more pronounced decrease with citizenship as gender inequality in countries increases. Results are corroborated by matching and instrumental variables strategies. These findings shed light on the existence of trade-offs between empowerment, as manifested through citizenship, and major choices.
    Keywords: Citizenship, immigrants, higher education, math, gender gaps, gender inequality
    JEL: I23 I24 I25 J16
    Date: 2024
  6. By: Alrababah, Ala; Beerli, Andreas; Hangartner, Dominik; Ward, Dalston
    Abstract: The main theories explaining electoral backlash against immigration give centrality to citizens' cultural, economic, and security concerns. We test these predictions in Switzerland, which opened its labor market to neighboring countries in the 2000s. Using a difference-in-differences design, we document that immigration to Swiss border municipalities increased substantially after the borders opened, followed by a more than six percentage point (29%) increase in support for anti-immigrant parties. However, we find no adverse effects on citizens' employment and wages nor on their subjective perceptions of economic, cultural, or security threats. Instead, we describe how far-right parties introduced novel threats to increase hostility toward immigrants. Our evidence demonstrates how elite rhetoric targeted border municipalities and had the greatest effects on voters vulnerable to political persuasion. Together, these findings emphasize the role that elites may play in driving anti-immigrant votes.
    Date: 2024–01–11
  7. By: Ahrens, Achim; Beerli, Andreas; Hangartner, Dominik; Kurer, Selina; Siegenthaler, Michael
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether employment restrictions contribute to refugees having poorer labor market outcomes than citizens. Utilizing linked register data from Switzerland and within-canton policy variation between 1999-2015, we find substantial negative effects on employment and earnings when refugees are barred from working upon arrival, excluded from specific sectors or regions, or face resident prioritization. Removing 10% of refugees' outside options reduces job-to-job mobility by 7.5% and wages by 3.0%, widening the wage gap to citizens in similar jobs. The restrictions depress refugees' labor market outcomes even after they apply, but do not spur emigration nor benefit other immigrants.
    Date: 2024–01–09
  8. By: Champeaux, Hugues; Gautrain, Elsa; Marazyan, Karine
    Abstract: Bride price customs are widespread in many developing countries. While the economic literature has widely investigated the implications of such transfers on women's welfare, little is known about their consequences on men's premarital behavior. In this paper, we exploit a quasi-natural experiment of a school-building program in Indonesia (INPRES) to investigate the relationship between marriage norms and the internal migrations of young men in age to marry. Based on empirical and theoretical settings of the literature, we rely on the effects of the INPRES program on girls' education and the parents' expectations on their daughters' bride price. Combining anthropological, administrative, and individualbased datasets, we implement a triple-difference approach. We find that men with bride price customs were more likely to migrate to areas more economically attractive than their district of origin. In contrast, no evidence exists of such behavior for men from ethnic groups without marriage payments. We interpret these results as evidence for the fact that men migrate to accumulate resources at destination to meet the parents' bride price expectations and marry at home. We also highlight that these migration strategies are implemented by the less advantaged males in their origin marriage market (latter-borns or from lower social class). These findings suggest that the interaction between marital norms and policies can result in unintended consequences, such as increasing premarital migration.
    Keywords: migration, marriage market, cultural norms, Indonesia, marriage payments
    JEL: I15 J1 J12 O15 Z10
    Date: 2024
  9. By: Stephan D. Whitaker
    Abstract: The postpandemic movement of people out of urban neighborhoods is speeding up changes in the age, credit risk, income, home ownership, and ethnic mix of these neighborhoods. Migration has been consistent with patterns in place before the pandemic, but at higher levels.
    Keywords: urban migration; COVID-19 pandemic
    Date: 2024–01–18
  10. By: Kohnert, Dirk
    Abstract: As early as 1991, Ali Mazrui argued that the Red Sea was not suitable for separating Africa from Arabia. The two regions were inextricably intertwined through languages, religions (particularly Islam) and identities in both the Sahara and the Red Sea in a historical fusion of Arabism and African identity. Their separation was closely linked to a broader trend in which the white world closed ranks and created a system of global apartheid. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates increasingly viewed the Horn of Africa as their ‘Western security flank’. They were united in their desire to prevent the growing influence of Turkey, Iran and Qatar in this part of the world. These Gulf rivalries formed the basis for growing economic cooperation with SSA as well as military support and security alliances, particularly in the Horn of Africa. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which together have become the largest Gulf investors in Africa, compete with each other, particularly with Qatar, which has established embassies in most SSA countries. In addition, state and non-state actors from the Middle East and North Africa were closely involved in the destabilization of the Sahel in the 2010s by providing military, intelligence and ideological support to SSA states and terrorist groups. On the other hand, the Gulf States became increasingly dependent on migrant labour and the steady increase in migration from SSA to these countries, reinforced by the massive influx from African migrant-sending countries given the restrictions on African migration to Europe. As early as the seventh century AD, Arabia had relied heavily on the slave trade and the supply of labour from SSA, founded on the philosophy that it was legitimate to enslave black people because they were no better than animals. During this time, Black Africa became the largest slave depot in the Islamic world. To this day, there are significant African migrant and diaspora communities in the Middle East. Their presence has at times helped to perpetuate long-standing derogatory views and attitudes towards Africa and its peoples. These attitudes, based on an Arab-centric social hierarchy and expressing contempt for African cultures, remain prevalent today and shape social relationships between employers and African migrants in the emirates of the Arabian Peninsula.
    Keywords: GCC; Middle East; Arabian Peninsula; Arab states of the Persian Gulf; Sub-Saharan Africa; Red Sea; Horn of Africa; Yemen; Arab Spring; Sahel; Islamic terrorism; Arab slave trade; Arab nationalism; Islam; Culture of Africa; migrant workers; human trafficking; forced labor; Ethiopia; Somalia; Ghana; Turkey; Iran; Afro-Arabs; Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates; Qatar; Oman; African Studies;
    JEL: D31 D62 D72 D74 E26 F35 F51 F52 F53 F54 F55 H12 H56 N45 Z13
    Date: 2023–11–24
  11. By: Kuntal K. Das (University of Canterbury); Mona Yaghoubi (University of Canterbury)
    Abstract: We examine whether migration fear increases future stock price crash risk. We find that a 10 percentage point increase in the migration fear index increases the future stock price crash risk by 17 to 19 percentage points. Our results hold after controlling for macroeconomic conditions, including economic policy uncertainty, and using instrumental variables to address endogeneity issues. The impact of migration fear on crash risk is larger for firms with greater asymmetric information and firms with weaker monitoring mechanisms. We conclude that migration fear can significantly change risk tolerance in financial markets and affect stock price crash risk.
    Keywords: Migration fear, Asymmetric information, Stock price crash risk
    JEL: G10 G41
    Date: 2024–01–01
  12. By: Randazzo, Teresa (University of Naples Parthenope); Piracha, Matloob (University of Kent)
    Abstract: We study the role of immigrant children's ethnic identity in their educational performance and preferences/aspirations in Italy. We find that students with a weak sense of Italian belonging show a low performance in reading and mathematics and higher probability of grade retention. Moreover, children in middle secondary school with a weak sense of Italian identity have a low preference towards academically-oriented high secondary track which normally increases the likelihood of pursuing a university degree. We also find that the intention of immigrant children in high secondary schools to enrol at university decreases if they have a weak Italian identity. We exploit gender heterogeneity finding that females are more adversely affected in their educational aspirations when they have not built a strong sense of Italian identity. Immigrant children will soon form a very important component of the Italian labour force and shedding light on their educational outcomes will help us understand their performance in the Italian labour market better.
    Keywords: ethnic identity, educational performance, educational preferences
    JEL: F22 J15 I2 Z13
    Date: 2024–01
  13. By: Bloem, Jeffrey R.; Lambrecht, Isabel
    Abstract: In places with few casual or salaried employment opportunities, investments in farm or non-farm assets may offer the main pathway to increased incomes locally, whereas others may seek alternative investment options elsewhere—as migrants. What factors, then, explain these investment choices? One theory suggests that aspirations that are ahead, but not too far ahead, of current levels provide the best incentive for promoting investment. If this theory holds, then estimates of the relationship between the aspirations gap and investment choices should take the form of a non-monotonic inverted U-shape. We test for such a relationship between the income aspirations gap and investments in migration, farm assets, and non-farm assets using data from a household survey in rural Tajikistan. We find evidence of an inverted U-shaped relationship between the income aspirations gap and measures of migration, with the strongest relationship found with international migration. Strikingly, we do not observe any association between the income aspirations gap and measures of investment in farm or non-farm assets. Exploring heterogeneity, we find that these results can vary by household poverty status and by the respondent’s gender. Investigating a possible mechanism, we find that the relationship between the income aspirations gap and migration seems to be driven by remittances, which outweigh migration costs and increase household income.
    Keywords: livelihoods; incomes; migration; investment; farms; agriculture; poverty; gender; remittances; TAJIKISTAN; CENTRAL ASIA; ASIA
    Date: 2023
  14. By: Maggie Isaacson; Cassandra Marks; Lowell R. Ricketts; Hannah Rubinton
    Abstract: During the COVID pandemic there were unprecedented shortfalls in immigration. At the same time, during the economic recovery, the labor market was tight, with the number of vacancies per unemployed worker reaching 2.5, more than twice its pre-pandemic average. In this paper, we investigate whether these two trends are linked. We do not find evidence to support the hypothesis that the immigration shortfalls caused the tight labor market for two reasons. First, at the peak, we were missing about 2 million immigrant workers, but this number had largely recovered by February 2022 just as the labor market was becoming tight. Second, states, cities, and industries that were most impacted by the immigration restrictions did not have larger increases in labor market tightness. We build a shift-share instrument to examine the causal impact of the immigration restrictions and still find no evidence to support the hypothesis that the immigration restrictions were the underlying cause of increased labor market tightness.
    Keywords: immigration; labor market tightness; COVID-19; wages
    JEL: J20 J40 J61
    Date: 2024–01
  15. By: Federico S. Mandelman; Yang Yu; Francesco Zanetti; Andrei Zlate
    Abstract: We document a slowdown in low-skilled immigration that began around the onset of the Great Recession in 2007, which was associated with a subsequent rise in low-skilled wages, a decline in the skill premium, and labor shortages in service occupations. Falling returns to education also coincided with a decline in the educational attainment of native workers. We then develop and estimate a stochastic growth model with endogenous immigration and training to rationalize these facts. Lower immigration leads to higher wages for low-skilled workers but also to higher consumer prices and lower aggregate consumption. Importantly, the decline in the skill premium reduces the incentive to train native workers and hurts aggregate productivity over time, which reduces welfare. We assess the implications of stimulus policies implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic and show that the shortage of low-skilled immigrant labor amplified the increase in consumer prices, partially eroding the effectiveness of stimulus.
    Keywords: international labor migration; skill premium; task upgrading; heterogeneous workers
    JEL: F16 F22 F41
    Date: 2024–01–16
  16. By: Celero, Jocelyn O.; Garabiles, Melissa R.; Katigbak-Montoya, Evangeline O.
    Abstract: This research aims to examine the gender-responsiveness of the current health care and social protection systems in the Philippines and East Asia. It also seeks to assess the level of health and social security systems literacy of Filipino migrant domestic workers (MDWs) in Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, as well as the Philippines. This study resulted in the development of survey tools that included seven measures on the systems literacy of Filipino MDWs. Four of the seven tools were about Philippine government agencies whose mandate includes providing health and social security protection to Filipino MDWs. These agencies are the OWWA, SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG Fund. The other three tools focused on the laws and policies regarding health care and social protection for Filipino migrant domestic workers in three destination countries or territories, namely, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, and Japan. Findings from the interviews with government agencies and NGO leaders in destination areas, as well as pilot surveys, suggest that while still in the destination countries, Filipino migrant domestic workers sometimes tend to disregard Philippine-based programs and policies that seek to protect their health and social welfare. As a result, the level of literacy in Philippine systems fluctuates. In contrast, the literacy level in receiving country systems tends to improve the longer Filipino domestic workers live and work in East Asia, gradually alienating them from the Philippine systems. Yet, despite the availability of health and social pension benefits in the receiving context, Filipino domestic workers who are aging, part-timers, and low-wage may face greater vulnerabilities and barriers to attaining systems literacy than other female migrant workers. The study recommends integrating gender into existing health care and social protection policies to ensure that they match the specific experiences of different categories of female migrant workers. It further suggests that the Philippine government must periodically update and strengthen the promotion of services and programs on various platforms. To raise the level of Filipino MDWs’ systems literacy in Philippine health and social security, the government must strengthen awareness of their policies and services and improve coordination between the Philippine consulates and embassies regarding labor and legal systems in destination countries that may have implications on the portability of healthcare and social protection programs for overseas Filipino workers. Comments to this paper are welcome within 60 days from the date of posting. Email
    Keywords: Philippines;Japan;Singapore;Hong Kong;health security systems;social security systems;systems literacy;gender-responsive
    Date: 2023
  17. By: Sam Huckstep (Center for Global Development); Helen Dempster (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: The green transition will generate an enormous demand for workers. This paper reviews demand for, and supply of, skills relevant to the green transition in five countries in the Global South and five in the Global North. It focuses on the installation and maintenance workforce needed in two sectors: solar photovoltaic panels and heat pumps. It finds that in almost all of the 10 countries studied, supply of the necessary skilled workers is unlikely to meet demand. In particular, Global North countries, which must cut more emissions sooner, face challenges in obtaining sufficient workers against a backdrop of ageing populations. If green transition targets are to be met, migration is likely to be needed as a complement to domestic training and reskilling. Given that the shortage of green-skilled workers is global, however, migration must be accompanied by support for training and retaining workers at home.
    Date: 2024–01–23
  18. By: Tamar Ramot-Nyska (Bank of Israel)
    Abstract: Residential location is economically important for households. It provides them access to local services, as well as to social and economic elements that influence their economic opportunities during their lifetime. Housing policies may create barriers for residential mobility that may create market inefficiencies such as lock-in effects or price distortions. This paper provides evidence on the effect of changing the incentives for residential mobility, using a natural experiment of public housing privatization in Israel. Buying an apartment at a discount was found to increase households’ probability to move. Most movers turned to other neighborhoods within their residential locality, while a small portion left to higher opportunity neighborhoods. Moving probability was greater from properties of lower physical quality, and was higher for young buyers, expecting a longer duration at the new location. The unique policy setting and the rich administrative data allow deeper analysis compared to previous studies that sheds light on the potential effects of residential mobility disincentives existing in other affordable housing settings
    Date: 2023–09

This nep-mig issue is ©2024 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.
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