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Learning about migration through experiments

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  • David McKenzie

    () (World Bank)

Abstract

International migration is one of the most important choices that individuals and households in poor countries can make to increase their lifetime wellbeing. This choice presents a severe challenge to researchers attempting to learn the impacts of migration, since those who choose to move typically differ in a host of observable and unobservable ways from those who choose to stay behind. This paper provides an overview of a new experimental literature which uses policy experiments and researcher-designed experiments to overcome these selection issues. Particular emphasis is placed on discussing the different datagathering strategies needed for conducing policy experiments. Experimental migration research as a field is still in its nascent stages, and there appears to be plenty of scope for both policymakers and researchers to design new experiments going forward – it is hoped that the summary here will aid researchers and policymakers in this purpose.

Suggested Citation

  • David McKenzie, 2012. "Learning about migration through experiments," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1207, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1207
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    File URL: http://www.cream-migration.org/publ_uploads/CDP_07_12.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David & Stillman, Steven, 2011. "What happens to diet and child health when migration splits households? Evidence from a migration lottery program," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 7-15, February.
    3. John Gibson & Steven Stillman & David McKenzie & Halahingano Rohorua, 2013. "Natural Experiment Evidence On The Effect Of Migration On Blood Pressure And Hypertension," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(6), pages 655-672, June.
    4. David Clingingsmith & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Michael Kremer, 2009. "Estimating the Impact of The Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam's Global Gathering," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1133-1170.
    5. Nava Ashraf & Diego Aycinena & Claudia Martínez & Dean Yang, 2011. "Remittances and the Problem of Control: A Field Experiment Among Migrants from El Salvador," Working Papers wp341, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    6. McKenzie, David & Gibson, John & Stillman, Steven, 2013. "A land of milk and honey with streets paved with gold: Do emigrants have over-optimistic expectations about incomes abroad?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 116-127.
    7. Mckenzie, David & Rapoport, Hillel, 2007. "Network effects and the dynamics of migration and inequality: Theory and evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-24, September.
    8. David J. McKenzie & Johan Mistiaen, 2009. "Surveying migrant households: a comparison of census-based, snowball and intercept point surveys," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(2), pages 339-360.
    9. Pernilla Andersson Joona & Lena Nekby, 2012. "Intensive Coaching of New Immigrants: An Evaluation Based on Random Program Assignment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(2), pages 575-600, June.
    10. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua D. Angrist & Susan M. Dynarski & Thomas J. Kane & Parag A. Pathak, 2011. "Accountability and Flexibility in Public Schools: Evidence from Boston's Charters And Pilots," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 699-748.
    11. 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.
    12. Michael Clemens, 2010. "The Roots of Global Wage Gaps: Evidence from Randomized Processing of U.S. Visas," Working Papers 212, Center for Global Development.
    13. Barham, Bradford & Boucher, Stephen, 1998. "Migration, remittances, and inequality: estimating the net effects of migration on income distribution," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 307-331, April.
    14. David McKenzie & John Gibson & Steven Stillman, 2010. "How Important Is Selection? Experimental vs. Non-Experimental Measures of the Income Gains from Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(4), pages 913-945, June.
    15. Steven Stillman & John Gibson & David Mckenzie, 2012. "The Impact Of Immigration On Child Health: Experimental Evidence From A Migration Lottery Program," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(1), pages 62-81, January.
    16. Richard P.C. Brown & Gareth Leeves, 2007. "Impacts of International Migration and Remittances," Discussion Papers Series 347, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Halahingano Rohorua, 2014. "Development Impacts of Seasonal and Temporary Migration: A Review of Evidence from the Pacific and Southeast Asia," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 18-32, January.
    2. Gharad Bryan & Shyamal Chowdhury & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, 2014. "Underinvestment in a Profitable Technology: The Case of Seasonal Migration in Bangladesh," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82, pages 1671-1748, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Doi, Yoko & McKenzie, David & Zia, Bilal, 2014. "Who you train matters: Identifying combined effects of financial education on migrant households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 39-55.

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    Keywords

    Migration; Experiments; Selection; Data Gathering Methods.;

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