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Refugees' and irregular migrants’ self-selection into Europe

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  • Aksoy, Cevat Giray
  • Poutvaara, Panu

Abstract

We provide the first large-scale evidence on self-selection of refugees and irregular migrants who arrived in Europe in 2015 or 2016. Our analysis uses unique datasets from the International Organization for Migration and Gallup World Polls. We find that refugees are positively self-selected with respect to human capital, as are female irregular migrants. Male irregular migrants are negatively self-selected. These patterns hold whether analyzing individually stated main reason to emigrate, country-level conflict intensity, or sub-regional conflict intensity. Several additional analyses show that our results are unlikely to be driven by omitted variable bias or liquidity constraints. We offer a theoretical framework to explain these patterns, by extending the Roy-Borjas model to include risks related to staying in an unsafe country of origin, risks related to migration, and gender-specific returns to human capital.

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  • Aksoy, Cevat Giray & Poutvaara, Panu, 2021. "Refugees' and irregular migrants’ self-selection into Europe," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:152:y:2021:i:c:s0304387821000596
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2021.102681
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    Cited by:

    1. Aksoy, Cevat Giray & Poutvaara, Panu & Schikora, Felicitas, 2020. "First Time around: Local Conditions and Multi-Dimensional Integration of Refugees," IZA Discussion Papers 13914, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Panu Poutvaara, 2021. "Population Aging and Migration," CESifo Working Paper Series 9105, CESifo.
    3. Nicolás Ajzenman & Cevat Giray Aksoy & Sergei Guriev, 2020. "Exposure to Transit Migration, Public Attitudes and Entrepreneurship," Department of Economics Working Papers wp_gob_2020_02, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    International migration; Refugees; Irregular migrants; Self-selection; Human capital; Gender differences in migration;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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