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Migration, Relationship Capital and International Travel: Theory and Evidence

  • Philip McCann

    ()

    (University of Waikato and University of Reading)

  • Jacques Poot

    ()

    (Population Studies Centre, University of Waikato)

  • Lynda Sanderson

    ()

    (Reserve Bank of New Zealand)

In this paper we consider how international migration is related to the frequency and duration of trips to the home country. For many migrants, international migration triggers a series of trips to visit the home country that allow for a replenishment of the depleted relationship capital with family and friends back home, but these trips incur travel costs and foregone earnings. Given plausible assumptions about the depreciation and replenishment of home country relationship capital, a steady-state level of average maintained relationship capital implies that the optimized travel frequency is inversely related to the distance and the transportation costs, and positively related to the psychological costs of separation. The total time spent at home is increasing in the trip frequency, but with an elasticity that is decreasing in cultural proximity. Empirical evidence in support of these theoretical predictions is found in a unique longitudinal sample of international travel of 13,674 New Zealand citizens and 6,882 UK citizens who migrated to Australia between 1 August 1999 and 31 July 2000.

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Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 0808.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0808
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  1. Dustmann, Christian, 2001. "Return Migration, Wage Differentials, and the Optimal Migration Duration," IZA Discussion Papers 264, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Janet E. Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, Regions and the Decline of Transport Costs," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2014, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Philip McCann & Charles Ward, 2004. "Real Estate Rental Payments: Application of Stock-Inventory Modeling," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 28(2_3), pages 273-292, 03.
  4. Francois-Charles Wolff & Augustin de Coulon, 2005. "Immigrants at Retirement: Stay/Return or 'Va-et-Vient'," CEP Discussion Papers dp0691, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. McCann, Philip, 2001. "A proof of the relationship between optimal vehicle size, haulage length and the structure of distance-transport costs," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 671-693, September.
  6. Constant, Amelie & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2007. "Circular Migration: Counts of Exits and Years Away from the Host Country," CEPR Discussion Papers 6438, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Oded Shenkar, 2001. "Cultural Distance Revisited: Towards a More Rigorous Conceptualization and Measurement of Cultural Differences," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 32(3), pages 519-535, September.
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