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Ethnic Discrimination and the Migration of Skilled Labor

  • Frédéric Docquier
  • Hillel Rapoport


    (Department of Economics, Bar Ilan University)

We consider a small open developing economy, whose population is bifurcated into a majority and a minority group, the latter lacking political influence. Agents are heterogeneous in skills, and decide whether to invest in education when young and whether to migrate in their adulthood. Assuming a rent-extraction basis for discrimination, we first endogenize ethnic discrimination in the benchmark case of an economy closed to migration, and then explore how migration prospects affect ethnic inequality. Under the free migration assumption, we find the intuitive result that migration prospects have a protective effect on the minority. Moreover, the optimal discrimination rate (from the majority’s perspective) is shown to be such that there is no migration at equilibrium, unless the distribution of individuals’ skills exhibits marked asymmetries. Last, we find that immigration restrictions set by receiving countries have the paradoxical effect of creating migration flows which would otherwise have remained latent.

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Paper provided by Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2001-19.

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Date of creation: Dec 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:biu:wpaper:2001-19
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  1. Bardhan, Pranab, 1997. "Method in the madness? a political-economy analysis of the ethnic conflicts in less developed countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(9), pages 1381-1398, September.
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  22. repec:adr:anecst:y:2003:i:71-72:p:03 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2001. "Brain drain and economic growth: theory and evidence," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10449, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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