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Demographic and Economic Pressure on Emigration out of Africa


  • Timothy J. Hatton
  • Jeffrey G. Williamson


Two of the main forces driving European emigration in the late nineteenth century were real wage gaps between sending and receiving regions and demographic booms in the low-wage sending regions. Our new estimates of net migration for the countries of sub-Saharan Africa show that exactly the same forces driving African across-border migration are at work today. The results suggest that rapid growth in the cohort of potential young emigrants, population pressure on the resource base, and slow economic growth are likely to intensify the pressure for migration out of Africa and into high-wage OECD countries over the next two decades. Copyright The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics", 2003 .

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Demographic and Economic Pressure on Emigration out of Africa," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(3), pages 465-486, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:105:y:2003:i:3:p:465-486

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Angus Deaton, 1999. "Commodity Prices and Growth in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 23-40, Summer.
    2. Collins, William J & O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1997. "Were Trade and Factor Mobility Substitutes in History?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1661, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Richard B. Freeman & Remco Oostendorp, 2000. "Wages Around the World: Pay Across Occupations and Countries," NBER Working Papers 8058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Paul Collier & Jan Willem Gunning, 1999. "Why Has Africa Grown Slowly?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
    5. Bevan, David & Collier, Paul & Gunning, Jan Willem, 1999. "The Political Economy of Poverty, Equity, and Growth: Nigeria and Indonesia," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195209860, June.
    6. Lucas, Robert E B, 1985. "Migration amongst the Botswana," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(378), pages 358-382, June.
    7. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1998. "The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195116519, June.
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    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration


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