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Return migration, wage differentials, and the optimal migration duration

  • Dustmann, Christian

In simple static models, migration increases with the wage differential between host and home country. In a dynamic framework, and if migrations are temporary, the size of the migrant population in the host country depends also on the migration duration. This paper analyses optimal migration durations in a model which rationalises the decision of the migrant to return to his home country, despite persistently higher wages in the host country. The analysis shows that, if migrations are temporary, the optimal migration duration may decrease if the wage differential grows larger. Using micro data for Germany, the second part of the paper provides some empirical evidence which is compatible with this hypothesis.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 47 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 353-369

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:47:y:2003:i:2:p:353-369
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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  1. Dustmann, Christian & Kirchkamp, Oliver, 2000. "The Optimal Migration Duration and Activity Choice after Re-migration," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 00-39, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universit├Ąt Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  2. Dustmann, Christian, 1997. "Return migration, uncertainty and precautionary savings," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 295-316, April.
  3. Guillermina Jasso & Mark Rosenzweig, 1982. "Estimating the emigration rates of legal immigrants using administrative and survey data: The 1971 cohort of immigrants to the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 279-290, August.
  4. Raffelhuschen, Bernd, 1992. "Labor migration in Europe : Experiences from Germany after unification," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1453-1471, October.
  5. Hill, John K., 1987. "Immigrant decisions concerning duration of stay and migratory frequency," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 221-234, February.
  6. Carrington, William J & Detragiache, Enrica & Vishwanath, Tara, 1996. "Migration with Endogenous Moving Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 909-30, September.
  7. Djajic, Slobodan & Milbourne, Ross, 1988. "A general equilibrium model of guest-worker migration : The source-country perspective," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3-4), pages 335-351, November.
  8. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-42, March.
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