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Migration, relationship capital and international travel: theory and evidence

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  • Philip McCann
  • Jacques Poot
  • Lynda Sanderson

Abstract

In this paper we consider how international migration is related to the frequency and duration of trips to the home country. For many migrants, international migration triggers a series of trips to visit the home country that allow for a replenishment of the depleted relationship capital with family and friends back home, but these trips incur travel costs and foregone earnings. Given plausible assumptions about the depreciation and replenishment of home country relationship capital, a steady-state level of average maintained relationship capital implies that the optimized travel frequency is inversely related to the distance and the transportation costs, and positively related to the psychological costs of separation. The total time spent at home is increasing in the trip frequency, but with an elasticity that is decreasing in cultural proximity. Empirical evidence in support of these theoretical predictions is found in a unique longitudinal sample of international travel of 13,674 New Zealand citizens and 6,882 UK citizens who migrated to Australia between 1 August 1999 and 31 July 2000.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Journal of Economic Geography.

Volume (Year): 10 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 361-387

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:10:y:2010:i:3:p:361-387

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  1. Francois-Charles Wolff & Augustin de Coulon, 2005. "Immigrants at Retirement: Stay/Return or 'Va-et-Vient'," CEP Discussion Papers dp0691, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Constant, Amelie & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2007. "Circular Migration: Counts of Exits and Years Away from the Host Country," CEPR Discussion Papers 6438, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser & Janet E. Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, Regions and the Decline of Transport Costs," NBER Working Papers 9886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Oded Shenkar, 2001. "Cultural Distance Revisited: Towards a More Rigorous Conceptualization and Measurement of Cultural Differences," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 32(3), pages 519-535, September.
  5. McCann, Philip, 2001. "A proof of the relationship between optimal vehicle size, haulage length and the structure of distance-transport costs," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 671-693, September.
  6. Philip McCann & Charles Ward, 2004. "Real Estate Rental Payments: Application of Stock-Inventory Modeling," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 28(2_3), pages 273-292, 03.
  7. Dustmann, Christian, 2001. "Return Migration, Wage Differentials, and the Optimal Migration Duration," IZA Discussion Papers 264, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. Anna Klabunde, 2014. "Computational Economic Modeling of Migration," Ruhr Economic Papers 0471, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  2. Rob Hodgson & Jacques Poot, 2011. "New Zealand Research on the Economic Impacts of Immigration 2005-2010: Synthesis and Research Agenda," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1104, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  3. Masood Gheasi & Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2013. "Special issue on international migration: editorial introduction," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 1-5, August.
  4. Arthur Grimes & les Oxley & Nicholas Tarrant, 2012. "Does Money Buy Me Love? Testing Alternative Measures of National Wellbeing," Working Papers 12_09, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  5. Jacques Poot & Anna Strutt, 2010. "International Trade Agreements and International Migration," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(12), pages 1923-1954, December.
  6. Constant, Amelie F. & Nottmeyer, Olga & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2012. "The Economics of Circular Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 6940, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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