A land of milk and honey with streets paved with gold: Do emigrants have over-optimistic expectations about incomes abroad?
AbstractMillions of people emigrate every year in search of better economic and social opportunities. Anecdotal evidence suggests that emigrants may have over-optimistic expectations about the incomes they can earn abroad, resulting in excessive migration pressure, and in disappointment amongst those who do migrate. Yet there is almost no statistical evidence on how accurately these emigrants predict the incomes that they will earn working abroad. In this paper we combine a natural emigration experiment with unique survey data on would-be emigrants' probabilistic expectations about employment and incomes in the migration destination. Our procedure enables us to obtain moments and quantiles of the subjective distribution of expected earnings in the destination country. We find a significant underestimation of both unconditional and conditional labor earnings at all points in the distribution. This under-estimation appears driven in part by potential migrants placing too much weight on the negative employment experiences of some migrants, and by inaccurate information flows from extended family, who may be trying to moderate remittance demands by understating incomes.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 0709.
Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision:
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Expectations; Migration; Natural Experiment;
Other versions of this item:
- McKenzie, David & Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven, 2007. "A land of milk and honey with streets paved with gold : do emigrants have over-optimistic expectations about incomes abroad ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4141, The World Bank.
- McKenzie, David & Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven, 2007. "A Land of Milk and Honey with Streets Paved with Gold: Do Emigrants Have Over-Optimistic Expectations about Incomes Abroad?," IZA Discussion Papers 2788, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
- F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
- J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-06-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2007-06-23 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-DEV-2007-06-23 (Development)
- NEP-LAB-2007-06-23 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-MIG-2007-06-23 (Economics of Human Migration)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jeff Dominitz, 1998. "Earnings Expectations, Revisions, And Realizations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 374-388, August.
- Luseno, Winnie K. & McPeak, John G. & Barrett, Christopher B. & Little, Peter D. & Gebru, Getachew, 2003. "Assessing the Value of Climate Forecast Information for Pastoralists: Evidence from Southern Ethiopia and Northern Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 1477-1494, September.
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NBER Working Papers
4937, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Using Expectations Data to Study Subjective Income Expectations," Econometrics 9411003, EconWPA.
- J. Dominitz & C. F. Manski, . "Using expectations data to study subjective income expectations," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1050-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
- David McKenzie & John Gibson & Steven Stillman, 2006. "How Important is Selection? Experimental vs Non-experimental Measures of Income Gains from Migration," Working Papers in Economics 06/03, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
- David McKenzie & Steven Stillman & John Gibson, 2010.
"How Important is Selection? Experimental VS. Non‐Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration,"
Journal of the European Economic Association,
European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 913-945, 06.
- David McKenzie & John Gibson & Steven Stillman, 2010. "How Important Is Selection? Experimental vs. Non-Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 913-945, 06.
- McKenzie, David & Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven, 2006. "How Important Is Selection? Experimental vs. Non-Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 2087, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Gilbert,Christopher L. & Vines,David (ed.), 2006. "The World Bank," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521029018.
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