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Paper walls are easier to tear down : passport costs and legal barriers to emigration

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  • McKenzie, David J.

Abstract

Increased attention to the development potential of international migration has led to calls for greater global cooperation and for industrial countries to consider temporary worker programs and other options for increasing the number of immigrants admitted. But less attention has been devoted to policies that migrant-sending countries pursue that impact on the ability of people to emigrate under the existing system. This paper documents the existence and impact of two such policies: passport costs and legal restrictions on emigration. New data collected on passport costs in 127 countries reveals enormous variation in the cost of a passport from one country to the next. One in every 10 countries in the sample is found to have passport costs exceeding 10 percent of annual per capita income. High passport costs are found to be associated with poor governance, especially in terms of the quality of the bureaucracy, and with lower levels of migration. Countries that place legal restrictions on the rights of women to emigrate are also found to have lower migration rates than countries with similar income and population levels. These findings suggest there is scope for some developing countries to receive greater benefits from migration by tearing down the paper walls they place around their own citizens.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3783.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3783

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Keywords: Governance Indicators; Economic Theory&Research; Country Strategy&Performance; Human Migrations&Resettlements; Voluntary and Involuntary Resettlement;

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References

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  1. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2005. "Governance matters IV : governance indicators for 1996-2004," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3630, The World Bank.
  2. Daniel Kaufmann & Aart Kraay & Massimo Mastruzzi, 2003. "Governance Matters III: Governance Indicators for 1996-2002," Macroeconomics 0308006, EconWPA.
  3. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Halahingano Rohorua, 2006. "How Cost Elastic are Remittances? Estimates from Tongan Migrants in New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 06/02, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Beata S. Javorcik & Çaglar Özden & Mariana Spatareanu & Cristina Neagu, 2006. "Migrant Networks and Foreign Direct Investment," Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark 2006-003, Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark.
  2. Masood Gheasi & Peter Nijkamp & Piet Rietveld, 2013. "Migration and foreign direct investment: education matters," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 73-87, August.
  3. Michael Clemens, 2009. "Skill Flow: A Fundamental Reconsideration of Skilled-Worker Mobility and Development," Working Papers 180, Center for Global Development.
  4. Ghosh, Jayati, 2009. "Migration and gender empowerment: Recent trends and emerging issues," MPRA Paper 19181, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Foad, Hisham, 2011. "Immigration and equity home bias," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 982-998, October.
  6. Arcand, Jean-Louis & Mbaye, Linguère Mously, 2013. "Braving the Waves: The Role of Time and Risk Preferences in Illegal Migration from Senegal," IZA Discussion Papers 7517, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Valerie Koechlin & Gianmarco Leon, 2007. "International Remittances and Income Inequality: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 123-141.
  8. Jayati Ghosh, 2009. "Migration and Gender Empowerment: Recent Trends and Emerging Issues," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2009-04, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), revised Apr 2009.
  9. Niimi, Yoko & Ozden, Caglar, 2006. "Migration and remittances : causes and linkages," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4087, The World Bank.
  10. Jean-Louis Arcand & Linguère Mously MBAYE, 2013. "Braving the waves: the role of time and risk preferences in illegal migration from Senegal," Working Papers halshs-00855937, HAL.
  11. Dilip Ratha & William Shaw, 2007. "South-South Migration and Remittances," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6733, January.
  12. Masood Gheasi & Peter Nijkamp & Piet Rietveld, 2011. "Migration and Foreign Direct Investment: Education Matters," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-136/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  13. Alberto Chong & Gianmarco León, 2006. "Barriers to Exit," Research Department Publications 4476, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.

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