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How do Migrants Choose Their Destination Country? An Analysis of Institutional Determinants

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  • Wido Geis
  • Silke Uebelmesser
  • Martin Werding

Abstract

For a long time, migration has been subject to intensive economic research. Nevertheless, empirical evidence regarding the determinants of migration still appears to be incomplete. In this paper, we analyze the effects of socio-economic and institutional determinants, especially labor-market institutions, on migrants' choices. Based on a large data set constructed from micro-data for France, Germany, the UK and the US, we study their decisions to migrate to one of the four countries using a Multinomial Choice framework. Our estimates confirm a number of conventional results such as positive effects of wages and immigrant networks and negative effects of unemployment rates. In addition, we find that employment protection, union coverage and unemployment benefits have positive effects on migration. Also good education and health systems tend to attract migrants, while generous pension systems may deter them. Based on separate estimations for high- and low-skilled migrants, there is evidence that the effects of labor-market institutions differ across skill groups.
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Suggested Citation

  • Wido Geis & Silke Uebelmesser & Martin Werding, 2013. "How do Migrants Choose Their Destination Country? An Analysis of Institutional Determinants," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(5), pages 825-840, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:21:y:2013:i:5:p:825-840
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fedotenkov, Igor, 2015. "International Trade and Migration: Why Do Migrants Choose Small Countries?," MPRA Paper 66035, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. repec:iza:izawol:journl:2017:n:373 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Lumpe, Claudia, 2017. "Public beliefs in social mobility and high-skilled migration," Ruhr Economic Papers 691, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Martin Werding & Stuart R. McLennan, 2015. "International Portability of Health-Cost Cover: Mobility, Insurance, and Redistribution," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(2), pages 484-519.
    5. Klaus Nowotny, 2011. "Welfare Magnets, Taxation and the Location Decisions of Migrants to the EU," WIFO Working Papers 393, WIFO.
    6. Claudia Cigagna & Giovanni Sulis, 2015. "On the potential interaction between labour market institutions and immigration policies," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 36(4), pages 441-468, July.
    7. Peter Huber & Klaus Nowotny & Julia Bock-Schappelwein, 2010. "Qualification Structure, Over- and Under-qualification of the Foreign Born in Austria and the EU," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 41226.
    8. Assaf Razin & Jackline Wahba, 2012. "Migration Policy and the Generosity of the Welfare State in Europe," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 9(4), pages 28-31, 02.
    9. repec:bla:tvecsg:v:108:y:2017:i:6:p:854-868 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Wido Geis & Silke Übelmesser & Martin Werding, 2008. "Why go to France or Germany, if you could as well go to the UK or the US? Selective Features of Immigration to four major OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 2427, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Klaus Nowotny & Dieter Pennerstorfer, 2011. "Ethnic Networks and the Location Choice of Migrants in Europe," WIFO Working Papers 415, WIFO.
    12. Mario Morger, 2013. "What Do Immigrants Value Most About Switzerland? Evidence of the Relative Importance of Income Taxes," CESifo Working Paper Series 4134, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. Eric Rougier & Nicolas Yol, 2018. "The volatility effect of diaspora’s location: A migration portfolio approach," Cahiers du GREThA 2018-09, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    14. repec:ces:ifodic:v:9:y:2012:i:4:p:17566036 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Hu, Chaoran & Chen, Kevin Z. & Reardon, Thomas, 2015. "Is There a City Size Bias? Destination Choice of Rural off-Farm Workers, Evidences from Three Areas in Rural China," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205535, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    16. Werding, Martin & McLennan, Stuart, 2011. "International portability of health-cost coverage : concepts and experience," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 63929, The World Bank.
    17. Electra Petracou & Anastasios Xepapadeas & Athanasios Yannacopoulos, "undated". "The bioeconomics of migration: A selective review towards a modelling perspective," DEOS Working Papers 1306, Athens University of Economics and Business.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A00 - General Economics and Teaching - - General - - - General
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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