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Return Migration: Theory and Empirical Evidence


  • Christian Dustmann

    () (Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration, Department of Economics, University College London)

  • Yoram Weiss

    () (The Eitan Berglas School of Economics, Tel Aviv University)


In this paper we discuss forms of migration that are non-permanent. We focus on temporary migrations where the decision to return is taken by the immigrant. These migrations are likely to be frequent, and we provide some evidence for the UK. We then develop a simple model which rationalizes the decision of a migrant to return to his home country, despite a persistently higher wage in the host country. We consider three motives for a temporary migration: Differences in relative prices in host- and home country, complementarities between consumption and the location where consumption takes place, and the possibility of accumulating human capital abroad which enhances the immigrant's earnings potential back home. For the last return motive, we discuss extensions which allow for immigrant heterogeneity, and develop implications for selective in- and out- migration.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Dustmann & Yoram Weiss, 2007. "Return Migration: Theory and Empirical Evidence," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0702, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0702

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
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    More about this item


    Life Cycle Models; International Migration; Return Migration;

    JEL classification:

    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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