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Self-employment and Migration

Author

Listed:
  • Samuele Giambra

    (Brown University)

  • David McKenzie

    (World Bank)

Abstract

There is a widespread policy view that a lack of job opportunities at home is a key reason for migration, accompanied by suggestions of the need to spend more on creating these opportunities so as to reduce migration. Self-employment is widespread in poor countries, and faced with a lack of existing jobs, providing more opportunities for people to start businesses is a key policy option. But empirical evidence to support this idea is slight, and economic theory offers several reasons why the self-employed may in fact be more likely to migrate. We put together panel surveys from eight countries to descriptively examine the relationship between migration and self-employment, finding that the self-employed are indeed less likely to migrate than either wage workers or the unemployed. We then analyze seven randomized experiments that increased self-employment, and find their causal impacts on migration are negative on average, but often small in magnitude.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuele Giambra & David McKenzie, 2019. "Self-employment and Migration," RF Berlin - CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1912, Rockwool Foundation Berlin (RF Berlin) - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM).
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1912
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jules Gazeaud & Eric Mvukiyehe & Olivier Sterck, 2023. "Cash Transfers and Migration: Theory and Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 143-157, January.
    2. Michael A. Clemens & Mariapia Mendola, 2020. "Migration from Developing Countries: Selection, Income Elasticity, and Simpson’s Paradox," Working Papers 539, Center for Global Development.
    3. Bah, Tijan L. & Batista, Catia & Gubert, Flore & McKenzie, David, 2023. "Can information and alternatives to irregular migration reduce “backway” migration from The Gambia?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 165(C).
    4. Endalew Terefe Alene, 2023. "Examine the association between self-employment and return migrants in Ethiopia: evidence from Gondar city youth returnees," Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-22, December.
    5. Milasi Santo, 2020. "What Drives Youth’s Intention to Migrate Abroad? Evidence from International Survey Data," IZA Journal of Development and Migration, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 11(1), pages 1-30, January.
    6. Bossavie, Laurent & Görlach, Joseph-Simon & Özden, Çağlar & Wang, He, 2024. "Capital Markets, Temporary Migration and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 176(C).
    7. Mckenzie,David J., 2022. "Fears and Tears : Should More People Be Moving within and from Developing Countries, andWhat Stops This Movement ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 10128, The World Bank.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    internal migration; international migration; self-employment; migrant selection; randomized experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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