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Is There A Stable Migration Equation For Ireland?

Listed author(s):
  • Ide Kearney


    (Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI))

In this paper we search for a stable migration equation for Ireland over the period 1951-1995. Given the integration of the Irish and UK labour markets through a long-standing migration link we model net migration as being driven by labour market conditions in Ireland relative to the UK. As in previous macroeconomic models of net migration we find evidence of instability in the basic equation. We adopt the general-to-specific econometric methodology to search for an equation that is sufficiently general to be congruent with the data set. This allows us to identify and parameterise the source of instability in the basic equation. From there we proceed to search for a parsimonious reduction of this general equation. Our preferred equation models net migration in the current year as a function of relative wages and relative employment in Ireland and the UK in the previous year. The results indicate that on average net migration increases by 7,695 (0.64% of the labour force) given a one percentage point increase in the Irish unemployment rate while a one percentage point convergence of Irish wages on UK wages reduces net migration by 1,344 (0.11% of the labour force). We identify two sub-periods that fully parameterise the instability detected over the full sample. In the sub-period 1978-1989 the average propensity to migrate rose (by annual rate of 1.71% of the labour force) while in the more recent sub-period, 1990-1995, the average propensity to migrate fell (by an annual equivalent of 0.96% of the labour force) relative to the rest of the sample. This responsiveness of labour supply to changing labour market conditions through the migration mechanism, and the consequent weakening of the Phillips Curve effect, are fundamental to our understanding of the functioning of the Irish labour market. These characteristics imply that, ceteris paribus, unemployment rates are lower than in a ?no migration? scenario.

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Paper provided by Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in its series Papers with number WP097.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Jun 1998
Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:wp097
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  1. Honohan, Patrick, 1984. "The Evolution of the Rate of Unemployment in Ireland 1962-1983," Quarterly Economic Commentary: Special Articles, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), vol. 1984(2-May).
  2. Honohan, Patrick, 1992. "The Link between Irish and UK Unemployment," Quarterly Economic Commentary: Special Articles, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), vol. 1992(1-Spring).
  3. Bradley, John & FitzGerald, John & Honohan, Patrick & Kearney, Ide, 1997. "Interpreting the Recent Irish Growth Experience," Book Chapters,in: Medium-Term Review: 1997-2003, No.6, chapter 3, pages 35-66 Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  4. Ide Kearney, 1997. "Shifts in the Demand for Skilled Labour in the Irish Manufacturing Sector: 1979-1990," Papers WP083, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  5. John Curtis & John FitzGerald, 1994. "Convergence in an Open Labour Market," Papers WP045, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  6. Bradley, John & FitzGerald, John & Hurley, David & O'Sullivan, Liam & Storey, Andrew, 1989. "HERMES-IRELAND A Model of the Irish Economy: Structure and Performance," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number BMI52.
  7. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-142, March.
  8. Duffy, David & FitzGerald, John & Kearney, Ide & Shortall, Fergal, 1997. "Medium-Term Review 1997-2003, No. 6," Forecasting Report, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number MTR06, April.
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