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Emigration and the Age Profile of Retirement Among Immigrants

  • Deborah Cobb-Clark


  • Steven Stillman


    (Economics Program and Social Policy Evaluation, Analysis, and Research (SPEAR) Centre Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA),Motu Economic and Public Policy Rese)

This paper analyzes the relationship between immigrants' retirement status and the prevalence of return migration from the host country to their country of origin. We develop a simple theoretical model to illustrate that under reasonable conditions the probability of return migration is maximized at retirement. Reduced-form models of retirement status which control for the rate of return migration are then estimated using unique data on emigration rates matched to individual-level data for Australia. We find that immigrants, particularly immigrant women, are more likely to be retired than are native-born men and women with the same demographic, human capital, and family characteristics. Moreover, within the immigrant population, there is a negative relationship between the propensity to be retired and the return migration rate of one's fellow countrymen, particularly amongst men. This link is strongest for those individuals who are at (or near) retirement age and among those with the highest cost of return migration. These results suggest that the fiscal pressures associated with aging immigrant populations vary substantially across origin countries.

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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 0815.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0815
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  1. Galor, Oded & Stark, Oded, 1990. "Migrants' Savings, the Probability of Return Migration and Migrants' Performance," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(2), pages 463-67, May.
  2. Augustin De Coulon & François-Charles Wolff, 2005. "Immigrants at retirement: stay/return or 'va-et-vient'?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19890, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Guillermina Jasso & Mark Rosenzweig, 1982. "Estimating the emigration rates of legal immigrants using administrative and survey data: The 1971 cohort of immigrants to the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 279-290, August.
  4. de Coulon, Augustin & Wolff, François-Charles, 2006. "The Location of Immigrants at Retirement: Stay/Return or ‘Va-et-Vient’?," IZA Discussion Papers 2224, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Robert Warren & Jennifer Peck, 1980. "Foreign-Born Emigration From The United States: 1960 To 1970," Demography, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 71-84, February.
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  11. Christian Dustmann & Yoram Weiss, 2007. "Return Migration: Theory and Empirical Evidence from the UK," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(2), pages 236-256, 06.
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  13. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-73, October.
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  16. Borjas, George J & Bratsberg, Bernt, 1996. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-76, February.
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  24. Sinning, Mathias, 2007. "Determinants of Savings and Remittances: Empirical Evidence from Immigrants to Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 2966, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Robert F. Schoeni, 1998. "Labor Market Assimilation of Immigrant Women," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(3), pages 483-504, April.
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  27. Hill, John K., 1987. "Immigrant decisions concerning duration of stay and migratory frequency," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 221-234, February.
  28. Galor, Oded & Stark, Oded, 1991. "The probability of return migration, migrants' work effort, and migrants' performance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 399-405, April.
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  30. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
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