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Return International Migration and Geographical Inequality: The Case of Egypt


  • Barry McCormick
  • Jackline Wahba


This paper explores entrepreneurship amongst return migrants, how their business locations and characteristics differ from other businesses, and the implications for rural--urban inequality. First, we examine, amongst returnees, the determinants of investment in a project/enterprise. Secondly, we study the impact of return migration on the characteristics and nature of non-farm small enterprises using a sample of return migrants and non-migrant owners of enterprises. Our data indicate that although the share of return migrants originating in urban areas is almost equal to those from rural areas, and that migrants tend to return to their origin region, urban areas benefit more than rural areas from international savings. The empirical evidence suggests that overseas savings, and the duration of stay overseas, have positive separate effects on the probability of investing in a project/enterprise amongst returnees. Furthermore, returnees of urban origin are more likely than rural ones to invest in a non-farm enterprise. The findings also indicate that there is a regional bias in the location of firms and jobs created by returnees compared with non-migrants, in favour of the capital city. Thus, overall, the results support a positive impact of return migration on enterprise investment in urban areas driven by the preference of returnees to invest in urban areas. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry McCormick & Jackline Wahba, 2003. "Return International Migration and Geographical Inequality: The Case of Egypt," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(4), pages 500-532, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:12:y:2003:i:4:p:500-532

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dustmann, Christian & Kirchkamp, Oliver, 2002. "The optimal migration duration and activity choice after re-migration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 351-372, April.
    2. Rapoport, Hillel & Docquier, Frederic, 2006. "The Economics of Migrants' Remittances," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
    3. Galor, Oded & Stark, Oded, 1991. "The probability of return migration, migrants' work effort, and migrants' performance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 399-405, April.
    4. Djajic, Slobodan, 1986. "International migration, remittances and welfare in a dependent economy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 229-234, May.
    5. Edgard R. Rodriguez & Susan Horton, 1995. "International Return Migration and Remittances in the Philippines," Working Papers horton-95-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ilo:ilowps:486369 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. de Haas, Hein, 2009. "Mobility and Human Development," MPRA Paper 19176, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Marilena Giannetti & Daniele Federici & Michele Raitano, 2009. "Does Migration Help Reducing Inequality and Social Exclusion?," Working Papers 118, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
    4. Cristian ÎNCALTARAU & Sorin-Stefan MAHA & Liviu-George MAHA, 2011. "A Broader Look on Migration: A Two Way Interaction Between Development and Migration in the Country Of Origin," Review of Economic and Business Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, issue 8, pages 285-297, December.
    5. Christian Dustmann & Joseph-Simon Görlach, 2016. "The Economics of Temporary Migrations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(1), pages 98-136, March.
    6. Richard Black & Adriana Castaldo, 2009. "Return Migration And Entrepreneurship In Ghana And Côte D'Ivoire: The Role Of Capital Transfers," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 100(1), pages 44-58, February.
    7. Martinez, Candace & Cummings, Michael E. & Vaaler, Paul M., 2015. "Economic informality and the venture funding impact of migrant remittances to developing countries11Please contact Paul M. Vaaler regarding this paper. This research benefitted from a presentation at ," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, pages 526-545.
    8. Marcus H. Böhme, 2015. "Does migration raise agricultural investment? An empirical analysis for rural Mexico," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 46(2), pages 211-225, March.
    9. Cristian INCALTARAU & Daniel JURAVLE, 2014. "The Attractiveness Of The Eu States. What Does Migration Indicate?," EURINT, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 1, pages 141-157.
    10. Kanbur, Ravi & Venables, Anthony J., 2005. "SPATIAL INEQUALITY AND DEVELOPMENT Overview of UNU-WIDER Project," Working Papers 127127, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    11. Syed Jawad Hussain SHAHZAD & Noureen ADNAN & Sajid ALI & Naveed RAZA, 2014. "Impact Of Remittances On Financial Development In South Asia," Review of Economic and Business Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, issue 14, pages 11-29, December.
    12. Marchetta, Francesca, 2012. "Return Migration and the Survival of Entrepreneurial Activities in Egypt," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 1999-2013.
    13. repec:ilo:ilowps:486992 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Andrew Burns & Sanket Mohapatra, 2008. "International Migration and Technological Progress," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11021, The World Bank.
    15. Bachir Hamdouch & Jackline Wahba, 2012. "Return Migration and Entrepreneurship in Morocco," Working Papers 666, Economic Research Forum, revised 2012.
    16. Fatma MABROUK, 2013. "À la recherche d’une typologie des migrants de retour : le cas des pays du Maghreb," Cahiers du GREThA 2013-06, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    17. Wouterse, Fleur, 2012. "Migration and Rural Welfare: The Impact of Potential Policy Reforms in Europe," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(12), pages 2427-2439.
    18. Makulec, Agnieszka., 2014. "Philippines' bilateral labour arrangements on health-care professional migration : in search of meaning," ILO Working Papers 994869923402676, International Labour Organization.
    19. Kevin J. A. Thomas & Christopher Inkpen, 2013. "Migration Dynamics, Entrepreneurship, and African Development: Lessons from Malawi," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 844-873, December.
    20. repec:spr:izamig:v:7:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1186_s40176-017-0092-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Cristian ÎNCALŢĂRĂU & Liviu-George MAHA, 2012. "The impact of remittances on consumption and investment in Romania," Eastern Journal of European Studies, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 3, pages 61-86, December.
    22. Anda David & Joachim Jarreau, 2015. "Short and Long-Term Impacts of Emigration on Origin Households: The Case of Egypt," Working Papers 977, Economic Research Forum, revised Dec 2015.
    23. Bang, James T. & Mitra, Aniruddha & Wunnava, Phanindra V., 2016. "Do remittances improve income inequality? An instrumental variable quantile analysis of the Kenyan case," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 394-402.
    24. Anda David & Joachim Jarreau, 2016. "Determinants of Emigration: Evidence from Egypt," Working Papers 987, Economic Research Forum, revised Apr 2016.

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