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What Fundamentals Drive World Migration?

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  • Timothy Hatton
  • Jeffery Williamson

Abstract

Governments in the OECD note rising immigration with alarm and grapple with policies aimed at selecting certain migrants and keeping out others. Economists appear to be well armed to advise governments since they are responsible for an impressive literature that examines the characteristics of individual immigrants, their absorption and the consequences of their migration on both sending and receiving regions. Economists are, however, much less well armed to speak to the determinants of the world migrations that give rise to public alarm. This paper offers a quantitative assessment of the economic and demographic fundamentals that have driven and are driving world migration, across different historical epochs and around the world. The paper is organized around three questions: How do the standard theories of migration perform when confronted with evidence drawn from more than a century of world migration experience? How do inequality and poverty influence world migration? Is it useful to distinguish between migration pressure and migration ex-post, or between the potential demand for visas and the actual use of them?

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 458.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:458

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  1. Michael D. Bordo & Alan M. Taylor & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Globalization in Historical Perspective," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord03-1, octubre-d.
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  3. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2001. "The disturbing 'rise' of global income inequality," Economics Working Papers 616, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 2002.
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  8. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2001. "Demographic and Economic Pressure on Emigration out of Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 250, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  10. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
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  13. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-73, October.
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  17. Pritchett, Lant, 1995. "Divergence, big time," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1522, The World Bank.
  18. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1998. "The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195116519, September.
  19. Fernando Ramos, 1992. "Out-Migration and Return Migration of Puerto Ricans," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 49-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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