Legal and illegal immigrants: an analysis of optimal saving behavior
Savings of guest workers as well as of undocumented migrants represent important inflows of foreign exchange for some developing countries. This paper compares the saving behavior of these two types of migrants, assuming that the former are authorized to work abroad for a specific period of time, while the latter can stay until apprehended and deported by the immigration authorities. Due to the risk of deportation, the saving rate of an illegal immigrant is found to be initially above that of a documented migrant. This precautionary saving phenomenon is, however, short-lived. A key finding of the paper is that the total repatriated assets of an illegal migrant are always lower than those of a documented worker, provided that their duration of stay abroad is identical. This is because the undocumented migrant’s saving rate falls over time as her expected lifetime earnings are adjusted upwards every day that she avoids apprehension. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014
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Volume (Year): 27 (2014)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
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