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Intentions to Return of Clandestine Migrants: The Perverse Effect of Illegality on Skills

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  • Nicola D. Coniglio
  • Giuseppe De Arcangelis
  • Laura Serlenga

Abstract

In this paper we show that highly skilled clandestine migrants are more likely to return home than migrants with low or no skills when illegality causes "skill waste", i.e. when illegality reduces the rate of return of individual capabilities (i.e. skills and human capital) in the country of destination. In a simple life-cycle framework, illegality is modeled as a tax on skills that reduces the opportunity cost of returning home particularly for the highly skilled. This proposition is tested on a sample of apprehended immigrants that unlawfully crossed the Italian borders in 2003. The estimation confirms that the intention to return to the home country is more likely for highly skilled illegal immigrants. The empirical results of this paper attenuate the common wisdom on the return decisions of legal migrants, according to which low-skill individuals are more likely to go back home (mainly because of negative self-selection). Copyright © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola D. Coniglio & Giuseppe De Arcangelis & Laura Serlenga, 2009. "Intentions to Return of Clandestine Migrants: The Perverse Effect of Illegality on Skills," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 641-657, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:13:y:2009:i:4:p:641-657
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 147, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Dustmann, 2014. "Selective Outmigration and the Estimation of Immigrants Earnings Profiles," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1402, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Moritz Bonn, 2013. "On the Interdependence of Illegal and Legal Immigration," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201301, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    3. Alexander Kemnitz & Karin Mayr, 2012. "Return Migration and Illegal Immigration Control," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2012040, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
    4. Magris, Francesco & Russo, Giuseppe, 2016. "Fiscal Revenues and Commitment in Immigration Amnesties," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 75-90.
    5. Qin, Fei, 2015. "Global talent, local careers: Circular migration of top Indian engineers and professionals," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 405-420.
    6. Nicola D. Coniglio & Giuseppe De Arcangelis & Laura Serlenga, 2013. "Special Issue. Guest Editor: Zhihao Yu," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(3), pages 540-548, August.
    7. Jackline Wahba & Nelly El-Mallakh, 2017. "Return Migrants and the Wage Premium: Does the Legal Status of Migrants Matter?," Working Papers 1133, Economic Research Forum, revised 08 2017.
    8. Coniglio, Nicola D. & Pesce, Giovanni, 2015. "Climate variability and international migration: an empirical analysis," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(04), pages 434-468, August.
    9. Nicola D. Coniglio & Giuseppe De Arcangelis & Laura Serlenga, 2010. "Return Decisions of Undocumented Migrants: Do Network Effects Help the High‐skilled Overstay?," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 24(s1), pages 93-113, December.
    10. Giuseppe Arcangelis & Edoardo Porto & Gianluca Santoni, 2015. "Immigration and manufacturing in Italy: evidence from the 2000s," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(2), pages 163-187, June.
    11. Michael A. Quinn, 2014. "Crossing The Border And Migration Duration," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(4), pages 843-861, October.
    12. Armando J. Garcia Pires, 2015. "Brain Drain And Brain Waste," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 40(1), pages 1-34, March.

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