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Direct Evidence on Risk Attitudes and Migration

  • David A. Jaeger

    (City University of New York Graduate Center, University of Cologne, and IZA)

  • Thomas Dohmen

    (ROA, Maastricht University, IZA, and DIW)

  • Armin Falk

    (University of Bonn, IZA, CEPR, and DIW)

  • David Huffman

    (Swarthmore College and IZA)

  • Uwe Sunde

    (University of St. Gallen, IZA, CEPR, and DIW)

  • Holger Bonin

    (ZEW and IZA)

It has long been hypothesized that individuals' migration propensities depend on their risk attitudes, but the empirical evidence has been limited and indirect. We use newly available data from the German Socio-Economic Panel to measure directly the relationship between migration and risk attitudes. We find that individuals who are more willing to take risks are more likely to migrate. Our estimates are substantial compared to unconditional migration probabilities, as well the effects of conventional determinants of migration, and are robust to controlling for a variety of demographic characteristics. We find no evidence that our results are the result of reverse causality. © 2010 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 684-689

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:92:y:2010:i:3:p:684-689
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  1. Stark, Oded & Levhari, David, 1982. "On Migration and Risk in LDCs," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 191-96, October.
  2. Jaeger, David A. & Bonin, Holger & Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Direct Evidence on Risk Attitudes and Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 2655, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. George J. Borjas, 2001. "Does Immigration Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 69-134.
  4. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 645-677.
  5. Heitmueller, Axel, 2002. "Unemployment Benefits, Risk Aversion, and Migration Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 610, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Daveri, Francesco & Faini, Riccardo, 1999. "Where Do Migrants Go?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(4), pages 595-622, October.
  7. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 1730, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
  9. Katz, Eliakim & Stark, Oded, 1986. "Labor Migration and Risk Aversion in Less Developed Countries," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(1), pages 134-49, January.
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