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Experimental Approaches in Migration Studies

Author

Listed:
  • David McKenzie

    () (World Bank)

  • Dean Yang

    () (University of Michigan)

Abstract

The decision of whether or not to migrate has far-reaching consequences for the lives of individuals and their families. But the very nature of this choice makes identifying the impacts of migration difficult, since it is hard to measure a credible counterfactual of what the person and their household would have been doing had migration not occurred. Migration experiments provide a clear and credible way for identifying this counterfactual, and thereby allowing causal estimation of the impacts of migration. We provide an overview and critical review of the three strands of this approach: policy experiments, natural experiments, and researcher-led field experiments. The purpose is to introduce readers to the need for this approach, give examples of where it has been applied in practice, and draw out lessons for future work in this area.

Suggested Citation

  • David McKenzie & Dean Yang, 2010. "Experimental Approaches in Migration Studies," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1017, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1017
    as

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    File URL: http://www.cream-migration.org/publ_uploads/CDP_17_10.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Angus Deaton, 2010. "Instruments, Randomization, and Learning about Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 424-455, June.
    2. Yang Dean, 2008. "Coping with Disaster: The Impact of Hurricanes on International Financial Flows, 1970-2002," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-45, June.
    3. Oded Stark & Christian Helmenstein & Yury Yegorov, 1997. "Migrants' Savings, Purchasing Power Parity, and the Optimal Duration of Migration," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 4(3), pages 307-324, July.
    4. Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Expanding Microenterprise Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts in Manila," CEPR Discussion Papers 7396, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Steven Stillman, 2011. "The Impacts of International Migration on Remaining Household Members: Omnibus Results from a Migration Lottery Program," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1297-1318, November.
    6. Dean Yang, 2008. "International Migration, Remittances and Household Investment: Evidence from Philippine Migrants' Exchange Rate Shocks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 591-630, April.
    7. Dustmann, Christian, 2003. "Return migration, wage differentials, and the optimal migration duration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 353-369, April.
    8. Dean Yang, 2006. "Why Do Migrants Return to Poor Countries? Evidence from Philippine Migrants' Responses to Exchange Rate Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 715-735, November.
    9. repec:pri:rpdevs:deaton_instruments_randomization_learning_all_04april_2010 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Emigration and wages in source countries: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 180-199, January.
    11. Claudia Martínez Alvear & Dean Yang, 2007. "Remittances and Poverty in Migrants’ Home Areas: Evidence from the Philippines," Working Papers wp257, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    12. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-918, October.
    13. David McKenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2010. "Self-Selection Patterns in Mexico-U.S. Migration: The Role of Migration Networks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 811-821, November.
    14. Stillman, Steven & McKenzie, David & Gibson, John, 2009. "Migration and mental health: Evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 677-687, May.
    15. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Stark, Oded, 1989. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration, and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 905-926, August.
    16. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Steven Stillman, 2013. "Accounting for Selectivity and Duration-Dependent Heterogeneity When Estimating the Impact of Emigration on Incomes and Poverty in Sending Areas," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(2), pages 247-280.
    17. Antman, Francisca M., 2011. "The intergenerational effects of paternal migration on schooling and work: What can we learn from children's time allocations?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 200-208, November.
    18. HwaJung Choi, 2007. "Are Remittances Insurance? Evidence from Rainfall Shocks in the Philippines," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 219-248, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David McKenzie & Dean Yang, 2015. "Evidence on Policies to Increase the Development Impacts of International Migration," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 155-192.
    2. Michael A. Clemens, 2016. "Losing our minds? New research directions on skilled emigration and development," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(7), pages 1227-1248, October.
    3. Chernina, Eugenia & Castañeda Dower, Paul & Markevich, Andrei, 2014. "Property rights, land liquidity, and internal migration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 191-215.
    4. Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2012. "Globalization, Brain Drain, and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(3), pages 681-730, September.
    5. repec:bla:ecorec:v:93:y:2017:i::p:122-143 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Rob Hodgson & Jacques Poot, 2011. "New Zealand Research on the Economic Impacts of Immigration 2005-2010: Synthesis and Research Agenda," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1104, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    7. Michael Clemens, 2013. "Seize the Spotlight: A Case for Gulf Cooperation Council Engagement in Research on the Effects of Labor Migration," Working Papers id:5567, eSocialSciences.
    8. Hao, Li & Houser, Daniel & Mao, Lei & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2016. "Migrations, risks, and uncertainty: A field experiment in China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 126-140.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Migration; Remittances; Experiment; Identification; Self-Selection;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

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