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Equipping immigrants: migration flows and capital movements in small open economies


  • Douglas Gollin


  • Fabian Lange



This paper explores the extent to which migration-related capital flows can explain the variation in investment rates and current and capital account imbalances in OECD countries. We begin with a general equilibrium model of a small open economy in which migration is exogenous. Migrants must be equipped with capital, and the resulting demands for capital will generate cross-border flows of capital. Next, we move to an empirical exercise in which we allow both capital and labor flows to be endogenous. We test this model using data from a panel of OECD countries. We conclude that migration flows do in fact generate substantial matching capital flows. We calculate that increased migration may have accounted for as much as one-fifth of the increase in the US current account deficit since 1960. Copyright Kiel Institute 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Gollin & Fabian Lange, 2013. "Equipping immigrants: migration flows and capital movements in small open economies," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 149(4), pages 749-777, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:weltar:v:149:y:2013:i:4:p:749-777
    DOI: 10.1007/s10290-013-0161-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Migration; Current Account; Investment; F16; F21; F22;

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration


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