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International Migrations: Some Comparisons and Lessons for the European Union

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  • Giovanni Peri

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

Abstract

The revival of international migration in the last fifteen years has spurredeconomists to more systematically study their determinants and consequences. Thiscontribution expands the existing literature in two directions. First we focus on theEuropean Union as a whole and compare it to the US and other countries with netimmigration (Canada, Australia and Switzerland). In so doing we establish someimportant facts about their capacity to attract migrant, and to foster internal migrationacross countries. Second, we analyze more systematically the causes and consequencesof international migration of workers with different educational levels. We use a recentdata set based on census information on natives and foreign born in 28 OECD countriesfor the year 2000. Four important facts emerge: 1) The European Union, far from actinglike an integrated labor market (such as the US), exhibits low levels of cross-countryinternal mobility (for all skill levels) even compared to other OECD countries. 2) TheEuropean Union lags far behind the US and other immigration countries (Canada,Australia, Switzerland) in its ability to attract immigrants from outside (for all skillslevels). 3) While typical immigration economies attract international migrants whoseschooling achievements are complementary to those of natives, thus increasing wages fora majority of their natives, the EU attracts immigrants whose education levels mirrorthose of its natives and may depress wage for a majority of them. 4) Within the EU, GreatBritain is the most similar to the immigration economies in terms of its ability to attractskilled migrants and in the composition of immigrants across schooling groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Peri, 2006. "International Migrations: Some Comparisons and Lessons for the European Union," Working Papers 158, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:158
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    References listed on IDEAS

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