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How do Migrants Choose their Destination Country? An Analysis of Institutional Determinants

  • Wido Geis
  • Silke Uebelmesser
  • Martin Werding

For a long time, migration has been subject to intensive economic research. Nevertheless, empirical evidence regarding the determinants of migration still appears to be incomplete. In this paper, we analyze the effects of socio-economic and institutional determinants, especially labor-market institutions, on migrants' choices. Based on a large data set constructed from micro-data for France, Germany, the UK and the US, we study their decisions to migrate to one of the four countries using a Multinomial Choice framework. Our estimates confirm a number of conventional results such as positive effects of wages and immigrant networks and negative effects of unemployment rates. In addition, we find that employment protection, union coverage and unemployment benefits have positive effects on migration. Also good education and health systems tend to attract migrants, while generous pension systems may deter them. Based on separate estimations for high- and low-skilled migrants, there is evidence that the effects of labor-market institutions differ across skill groups.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2506.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2506
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  1. Ira N. Gang & Thomas Bauer & Gil S. Epstein, 2002. "Enclaves, Language and the Location Choice of Migrants," Departmental Working Papers 200217, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
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  4. Thomas Bauer & Gil S. Epstein & Ira N. Gang, 2006. "The Influence of Stocks and Flows on Migrants’ Location Choices," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 06-13, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  5. Wido Geis & Silke Uebelmesser & Martin Werding, 2008. "Why go to France or Germany, if you could as well go to the UK or the US? Selective Features of Immigration to four major OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 2427, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Pedersen, Peder J. & Pytlikova, Mariola & Smith, Nina, 2004. "Selection or Network Effects? Migration Flows into 27 OECD Countries, 1990-2000," IZA Discussion Papers 1104, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  10. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1997. "I just ran four million regressions," Economics Working Papers 201, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  11. Marko Koethenbuerger & Panu Poutvaara & Paola Profeta, 2008. "Why are more redistributive social security systems smaller? A median voter approach," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(2), pages 275-292, April.
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  13. Aslund, Olof, 2005. "Now and forever? Initial and subsequent location choices of immigrants," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 141-165, March.
  14. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1981. "Qualitative Response Models: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 1483-1536, December.
  15. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  16. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
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  18. Munz, Sonja & Werding, Martin, 2005. "Public pensions and international migration: some clarifications and illustrative results," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 181-207, July.
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