Migration is heavily influenced by social networks. Nonetheless, little is known about the underlying mechanisms. This column uses a new dataset from China to disentangle the effects of strong and weak ties on the migration decision. The findings indicate that strong and weak ties act as complements. Having many weak ties with an urban area amplifies the positive impact of having a strong tie in the same area.
Corrado Giulietti, Jackline Wahba, Yves Zenou, Sunday, December 21, 2014
Frédéric Docquier, Çağlar Özden, Giovanni Peri, Monday, October 6, 2014
Researchers have devoted little attention to the effects of emigration from OECD countries, and the absence of detailed emigration data is the main culprit. Using a new and improved migration database, this column analyses the effect of migration on the wages of less educated native workers. The results suggest that, as far as labour market outcomes of less educated workers are concerned, governments should worry less about new arrivals and more about the potential consequences of their high emigration rates.
Assaf Razin, Efraim Sadka, Monday, September 1, 2014
European migration exhibits a bias towards low-skilled workers, whereas the US attracts the majority of the world’s skilled migrants. At the same time, the welfare system in Europe is more generous than the one in the US. This column describes an analytical framework that can explain the existence of these differences. Whether a group (union) of member states competes or coordinates its policies has an impact on the skill composition of its migrants and the generosity of the welfare system.
John Helliwell, Shun Wang, Jinwen Xu, Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Social norms have been shown to have important effects on economic outcomes. This column discusses new evidence showing that social norms are deeply rooted in long-standing cultures, but do evolve in reaction to major changes. It draws on a fully global sample involving migrants in more than 130 countries, using seven waves of the Gallup World Poll.
Giulia Bettin, Andrea F Presbitero, Nikola Spatafora, Monday, February 10, 2014
Remittances are one of the most important financial flows to developing countries – more than three times the level of official development assistance. This column presents recent research on remittance flows from Italy. Their limited volatility and countercyclical behaviour with respect to macroeconomic conditions in the recipient country help mitigate developing countries’ vulnerability to external shocks. Better access to financial services for migrants can foster remittance flows.
Christian Dustmann, Tommaso Frattini, Wednesday, November 13, 2013
The immigration debate has focused on immigrants’ net fiscal impact – whether they receive more in welfare payments and other benefits than they pay back in taxes. This column summarises research showing that – contrary to popular belief – immigrants who arrived in the UK since 2000 have contributed far more in taxes than they have received in benefits. Compared with natives of the same age, gender, and education level, recent immigrants are 21% less likely to receive benefits.
Jan van Ours, Sunday, October 6, 2013
In absolute terms, the Great Recession affected the unemployment rate of non-Western immigrants more than that of native workers in the Netherlands. However, this merely reflects their generally weak labour-market position – job-finding rates are much lower for non-Western immigrants than they are for natives. There is little difference between the cyclical sensitivity of these two groups’ unemployment or job-finding rates. In relative terms, the labour-market position of non-Western immigrants is bad, but the Great Recession did not make it worse.
Simone Bertoli, Francesca Marchetta, Friday, October 4, 2013
Return migrants have major social and economic consequences for their countries of origin. This column uses Egyptian household-level data to analyse the effects of migrants returning from neighbouring Arab countries. Start-up firms by returnees are more likely to survive, and returnee families tend to have more children. These results imply that return migration may not be an unmitigated blessing for Egypt.
Henrik Kleven, Camille Landais, Emmanuel Saez, Esben Schultz, Tuesday, September 17, 2013
How responsive is international migration by high-skilled workers to tax differentials across countries? This column provides evidence from Denmark suggesting that a preferential scheme was highly successful in attracting rich foreigners. It warns that, absent international tax coordination, preferential tax schemes to high-income foreigners could substantially weaken tax progressivity at the top of the distribution.
Carsten Fink, Ernest Miguelez, Julio Raffo, Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Migration is a hot-button issue across the globe. This column summarises new evidence on the patterns of skilled-worker migration, focusing on the specific case of inventors. A novel data source that traces worldwide migration flows for inventors suggests that, excluding a few nuances, the economic incentives for general migration also seem to influence inventors’ migration decisions.
Pierre-Philippe Combes, Sylvie Démurger, Li Shi, Sunday, February 17, 2013
This paper evaluates the role that cities play on individual productivity in China. The authors' results strongly support the productivity gains that can be expected from further migration and urbanisation in China.
Klaus Desmet, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg , Wednesday, January 16, 2013
There are two ways to deal with climate change: mitigation and adaptation. This column argues that in order to adapt, we need to take another look at an age-old coping mechanism: migration. Indeed, if overall hotter temperatures lower productivity in hot regions but raise productivity in what are currently cooler regions, the negative economic effects of climate change are likely to stem from frictions preventing the movement of people and goods. Without these frictions, adapting to climate change becomes that much easier. Climate change policy ought to aim at alleviating mobility frictions.
Paola Conconi, Giovanni Facchini, Max Friedrich Steinhardt, Maurizio Zanardi, Monday, January 7, 2013
As populations in rich nations continue to age and skill shortages begin to emerge, concern over getting immigration policy right is set to intensify. This column discusses new research on US policymaking, showing that many of the determinants of policymakers’ attitudes towards trade are also in operation when it comes to migration. Using the Heckscher-Ohlin model, it finds that US House members from districts where skilled labour is abundant are more likely to support both trade liberalisation and a more open policy for unskilled immigration.
Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Viola von Berlepsch, Sunday, September 2, 2012
This paper examines the extent to which the distinct settlement pattern of migrants arriving in the US during the big migration waves of the late 19th and early 20th centuries has left a legacy on the economic development of the counties where they settled and whether this legacy can be traced until today.
Yves Zenou, Jackline Wahba, Sunday, August 19, 2012
Are return migrants more likely to become entrepreneurs than non-migrants? This column, using data from Egypt, argues that although migrants lose their social networks whilst overseas, savings and human capital accumulation acquired abroad overcompensate for this loss. This makes return migrants more likely to start businesses.
Çağlar Özden, Christopher Parsons, Maurice Schiff, Terrie Walmsley, Saturday, August 6, 2011
Migration is an issue not helped by misleading statistics and poor data. This column presents a study bringing together over 1,000 national censuses and population registers for 226 countries and regions between 1960 and 2000.
Timothy J Hatton, Friday, July 15, 2011
Tim Hatton of the Australian National University talks to Viv Davies about his book on asylum policy, which assesses what asylum policies have achieved and argues that policy towards asylum seekers should be based on historical insight, quantitative evidence and a realistic view of the political economy of asylum policy. Hatton presents the case for a fully integrated Europe-wide asylum policy. The interview was recorded on 13 July 2011. [Also read the transcript.]
Ian Goldin, Friday, June 3, 2011
Ian Goldin, director of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford, talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his new book, ‘Exceptional People’, co-authored with Geoffrey Cameron and Meera Balarajan. They discuss how migrants have fuelled human progress over centuries, the benefits for sending and receiving countries, and why pressure from both demand and supply could lead to a doubling of cross-border migration flows over the next few years. The interview was recorded in Oxford in May 2011. [Also read the transcript.]
Assaf Razin, Jackline Wahba, Friday, March 4, 2011
Do immigrants just move for the benefit systems? This column argues that the effect of the welfare state on immigration and its composition depends on whether the destination country's migration policy is “free” or “managed”, and on whether the source country is developed or developing.
Emmanuel Saez, Henrik Kleven, Camille Landais, Thursday, January 6, 2011
This month some of Europe’s most skilled footballers will switch clubs in deals worth millions of euros. This column analyses the movement of Europe’s footballers between the top 14 leagues and finds that a major influence on player decisions to move is the difference in the tax regime – with policy implications going well beyond the football pitch.