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Migration and Trade


  • Peter Egger
  • Maximilian Von Ehrlich
  • Douglas R. Nelson


Theoretical and empirical research in economics suggests that bilateral migration triggers bilateral trade through a number of channels. This paper assesses the functional form of the impact of migration on trade flows in a quasi-experimental setting. We provide evidence that the relationship is not log-linear. In particular, at small levels of migration (stocks) the elasticity of trade to migration is quite high, and it declines to zero at about 4,000 immigrants. If migration stocks exceed such a level, the evidence suggests that trade will not increase anymore. This suggests that cross-country network and other effects flowing from migration materialize at relatively low levels of migration, but there appears to be satiation as immigrant numbers increase by much.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Egger & Maximilian Von Ehrlich & Douglas R. Nelson, 2011. "Migration and Trade," CESifo Working Paper Series 3467, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3467

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    Cited by:

    1. Murat Genc & Masood Gheasi & Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2012. "The impact of immigration on international trade: a meta-analysis," Chapters,in: Migration Impact Assessment, chapter 9, pages 301-337 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Magrini, Emiliano & Montalbano, Pierluigi & Nenci, Silvia & Salvatici, Luca, 2014. "Agricultural trade distortions during recent international price spikes: what implications for food security?," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182726, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Grossmann, Volker & Kohler, Wilhelm, 2012. "Migration, International Trade and Capital Formation: Cause or Effect ?," FSES Working Papers 436, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.
    4. Marina Murat, 2014. "Soft, hard or smart power? International students and investments abroad," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 107, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    5. Marina Murat, 2013. "Education ties and investments abroad. Empirical evidence from the US and UK," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 091, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    6. Martyn Andrews & Thorsten Schank & Richard Upward, 2017. "Do foreign workers reduce trade barriers? Microeconomic evidence," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(9), pages 1750-1774, September.
    7. Sanne Hiller, 2013. "Does immigrant employment matter for export sales? Evidence from Denmark," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 149(2), pages 369-394, June.
    8. Giorgia Giovannetti & Mauro Lonati, 2014. "The impact of product quality on the pro-trade elasticity of immigrants," Working Papers - Economics wp2014_11.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    9. Hatzigeorgiou, Andreas & Lodefalk, Magnus, 2015. "The Role of Foreign Networks for Firm Export of Services," Working Papers 2015:6, Örebro University, School of Business.
    10. Murat, Marina, 2014. "Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind. Education Networks and International Trade," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 53-66.
    11. Fourie, Johan & Santana-Gallego, María, 2013. "Ethnic reunion and cultural affinity," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 411-420.
    12. Marina Murat, 2014. "Soft, hard or smart power? International students and investments abroad," Department of Economics 0043, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    13. Michał BURZYŃSKI, 2014. "Trading Goods or Human Capital The Winners and Losers of Economic Integration," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2014022, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    14. Magnus Lodefalk, 2016. "Temporary expats for exports: micro-level evidence," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 152(4), pages 733-772, November.
    15. Serrano-Domingo, Guadalupe & Requena-Silvente, Francisco, 2013. "Re-examining the migration–trade link using province data: An application of the generalized propensity score," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 247-261.
    16. Hatzigeorgiou, Andreas & Lodefalk, Magnus, 2016. "The Brexit Trade Disruption Revisited," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 17(1).
    17. Guadalupe Serrano-Domingo & Francisco Requena-Silvente, 2013. "Examining the non-linear relationship between migration and trade," Working Papers 1310, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
    18. TOMOHARA Akinori, 2017. "Do Migrant and Business Networks Promote International Royalty Receipts?," Discussion papers 17006, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    19. Michael Good, 2013. "Geographic Proximity and the Pro-trade Effect of Migration: State-level Evidence from Mexican Migrants in the United States," 2013 Papers pgo530, Job Market Papers.
    20. Michael Good, 2012. "How Localized is the Pro-trade Effect of Immigration? Evidence from Mexico and the United States," Working Papers 1203, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
    21. Hatzigeorgiou, Andreas & Karpaty, Patrik & Kneller, Richard & Lodefalk, Magnus, 2016. "Do Immigrants Spur Offshoring? Firm-Level Evidence," Working Papers 2016:7, Örebro University, School of Business.
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    23. Riccardo Fiorentini & Alina Verashchagina, 2017. "Immigration and Trade: The Case Study of Veneto Region in Italy," Working Papers 03/2017, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    24. Miguelez Ernest, 2014. "Inventor Diasporas And The Internationalization Of Technology," ERSA conference papers ersa14p1030, European Regional Science Association.

    More about this item


    migration; bilateral trade; quasi-randomized experiment; generalized propensity score estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration


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