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What Fundamentals Drive World Migration?

  • Timothy Hatton
  • Jeffery Williamson

Governments in the OECD note rising immigration with alarm and grapple with policies aimed at selecting certain migrants and keeping out others. Economists appear to be well armed to advise governments since they are responsible for an impressive literature that examines the characteristics of individual immigrants, their absorption and the consequences of their migration on both sending and receiving regions. Economists are, however, much less well armed to speak to the determinants of the world migrations that give rise to public alarm. This paper offers a quantitative assessment of the economic and demographic fundamentals that have driven and are driving world migration, across different historical epochs and around the world. The paper is organized around three questions: How do the standard theories of migration perform when confronted with evidence drawn from more than a century of world migration experience? How do inequality and poverty influence world migration? Is it useful to distinguish between migration pressure and migration ex-post, or between the potential demand for visas and the actual use of them?

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 458.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:458
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  1. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1998. "The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195116519, March.
  2. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "The Disturbing "Rise" of Global Income Inequality," NBER Working Papers 8904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 147, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  4. Rotte, Ralph & Vogler, Michael, 1999. "The Effects of Development on Migration: Theoretical Issues and New Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 46, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  6. Pritchett, Lant, 1995. "Divergence, big time," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1522, The World Bank.
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  8. R. Findlay & K. H. O'Rourke, 2001. "Commodity market integration, 1500-2000," CEG Working Papers 20019, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  9. Peter H. Lindert & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Does Globalization Make the World More Unequal?," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 227-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Michael D. Bordo & Alan M. Taylor & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Globalization in Historical Perspective," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord03-1.
  11. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
  12. David Karemera & Victor Iwuagwu Oguledo & Bobby Davis, 2000. "A gravity model analysis of international migration to North America," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(13), pages 1745-1755.
  13. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, inequality, and poverty : looking beyond averages," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2558, The World Bank.
  14. Daniela del Boca & Alessandra Venturini, 2001. "Italian Migration," CHILD Working Papers wp26_01, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  15. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 2002. "Globalization and Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 8846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
  17. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2001. "Demographic and Economic Pressure on Emigration out of Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 250, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Agesa, Richard U, 2001. "Migration and the Urban to Rural Earnings Difference: A Sample Selection Approach," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(4), pages 847-65, July.
  19. Barry Chiswick & Timothy J.. Hatton, 2003. "International Migration and the Integration of Labor Markets," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 65-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J Edward, 1991. "Migration Incentives, Migration Types: The Role of Relative Deprivation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1163-78, September.
  21. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-73, October.
  22. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2002. "Commodity market integration, 1500-2000," Discussion Papers 0102-30, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  23. Ximena Clark & Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2002. "Where Do U.S. Immigrants Come From, and Why?," NBER Working Papers 8998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Bauer, Thomas K. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 1999. "Report No. 3: Assessment of Possible Migration Pressure and its Labour Market Impact Following EU Enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe," IZA Research Reports 3, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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