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Migration, relationship capital and international travel: theory and evidence

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  • Philip McCann
  • Jacques Poot
  • Lynda Sanderson

Abstract

In this paper we consider how international migration is related to the frequency and duration of trips to the home country. For many migrants, international migration triggers a series of trips to visit the home country that allow for a replenishment of the depleted relationship capital with family and friends back home, but these trips incur travel costs and foregone earnings. Given plausible assumptions about the depreciation and replenishment of home country relationship capital, a steady-state level of average maintained relationship capital implies that the optimized travel frequency is inversely related to the distance and the transportation costs, and positively related to the psychological costs of separation. The total time spent at home is increasing in the trip frequency, but with an elasticity that is decreasing in cultural proximity. Empirical evidence in support of these theoretical predictions is found in a unique longitudinal sample of international travel of 13,674 New Zealand citizens and 6,882 UK citizens who migrated to Australia between 1 August 1999 and 31 July 2000.
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Suggested Citation

  • Philip McCann & Jacques Poot & Lynda Sanderson, 2010. "Migration, relationship capital and international travel: theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(3), pages 361-387, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:10:y:2010:i:3:p:361-387
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Constant, Amelie & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2007. "Circular Migration: Counts of Exits and Years Away from the Host Country," CEPR Discussion Papers 6438, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Edward Glaeser & Janet Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, regions and the decline of transport costs," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 83(1), pages 197-228, October.
    3. De Coulon, Augustin & Wolff, François-Charles, 2005. "Immigrants at retirement: stay/return or 'va-et-vient'?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19890, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Philip McCann & Charles Ward, 2004. "Real Estate Rental Payments: Application of Stock-Inventory Modeling," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 28(2_3), pages 273-292, March.
    5. Oded Shenkar, 2001. "Cultural Distance Revisited: Towards a More Rigorous Conceptualization and Measurement of Cultural Differences," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 32(3), pages 519-535, September.
    6. Dustmann, Christian, 2003. "Return migration, wage differentials, and the optimal migration duration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 353-369, April.
    7. McCann, Philip, 2001. "A proof of the relationship between optimal vehicle size, haulage length and the structure of distance-transport costs," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 671-693, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. ., 2012. "Migration impact assessment: a state of the art," Chapters,in: Migration Impact Assessment, chapter 1, pages 3-62 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Arthur Grimes & les Oxley & Nicholas Tarrant, 2012. "Does Money Buy Me Love? Testing Alternative Measures of National Wellbeing," Working Papers 12_09, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    3. Möllers, Judith & Traikova, Diana & Herzfeld, Thomas & Bajrami, Egzon, 2017. "Study on rural migration and return migration in Kosovo," IAMO Discussion Papers 166, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO).
    4. Alderighi, Marco & Gaggero, Alberto A., 2014. "The effects of global alliances on international flight frequencies: Some evidence from Italy," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 30-33.
    5. Faruk, Balli & Syed Abul, Basher & Rosmy, Jean Louis & Ahmed Saber, Mahmud, 2016. "On the global determinants of visiting home," MPRA Paper 72291, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. repec:eee:touman:v:36:y:2013:i:c:p:304-313 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jacques Poot, 2015. "Cross-border migration and travel: A virtuous relationship," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 209-209, November.
    8. Anat Tchetchik, 2015. "Do communication technologies and “migration induced travel” complement or compete with each other?," Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 335-356, November.
    9. Amelie F. Constant & Olga Nottmeyer & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2013. "The economics of circular migration," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 3, pages 55-74 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Rob Hodgson & Jacques Poot, 2011. "New Zealand Research on the Economic Impacts of Immigration 2005-2010: Synthesis and Research Agenda," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1104, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    11. Ernest Miguélez & Rosina Moreno, 2014. "What Attracts Knowledge Workers? The Role Of Space And Social Networks," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 33-60, January.
    12. Anna Klabunde, 2014. "Computational Economic Modeling of Migration," Ruhr Economic Papers 0471, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    13. Klabunde, Anna, 2014. "Computational Economic Modeling of Migration," Ruhr Economic Papers 471, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    14. Minh Tran, Ngoc Thi & Cameron, Michael P. & Poot, Jacques, 2017. "International Migration and Institutional Quality in the Home Country: It Matters Where You Go and How Long You Stay!," IZA Discussion Papers 10945, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Nijkamp, P. & Poot, H.J., 2012. "Migration impact assessment: A state of the art," Serie Research Memoranda 0009, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    16. Jacques Poot & Anna Strutt, 2010. "International Trade Agreements and International Migration," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(12), pages 1923-1954, December.
    17. repec:zbw:rwirep:0471 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Masood Gheasi & Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2013. "Special issue on international migration: editorial introduction," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 51(1), pages 1-5, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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