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Familiar Faces, Familiar Places: The role of family networks and previous experience for Albanian migrants

  • Gero Carletto

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

  • Benjamin Davis

    (Agricultural and Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization)

  • Marco Stampini

Using data from the 2003 Albania Panel Survey, the paper sets out to achieve two main objectives. First, we fully characterize the evolution of Albanian international migration since the fall of Communism in 1990. We distinguish between permanent and temporary migration, and between the two principal destinations, Greece and Italy. Second, we explore, using multivariate analysis, what individual, household and community level factors influence the current decision to migrate internationally, focusing on the role of previous personal experience and family networks. We find evidence of important changes over time in the pull and push factors that drive migration flows. While early on in the transition political and economic factors were predominant, over time personal experience and household migration networks assumed a fundamental role, facilitating growth in migration even in times of the relatively stable economic conditions. Other individual, household, and community factors have an important role in the decision to migrate, and these factors vary by type of migration and destination. Furthermore, the spatial configuration of migration is also changing: both temporary and permanent migration are expanding into new parts of the country. The results have important policy implications. First, policies aimed at controlling migration are likely to be less effective where networks have already developed or where engrained patterns of repeat migration are established. Second, despite increasing legality, migration, particularly for newcomers, is still difficult, risky and often illegal, which fosters a climate of exploitation and abuse. Third, we find that highly educated individuals have a higher propensity to migrate permanently, which constitutes a serious potential risk in terms of brain drain.

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Paper provided by Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA) in its series Working Papers with number 05-03.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fao:wpaper:0503
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  1. Jonathan Coppel & Jean-Christophe Dumont & Ignazio Visco, 2001. "Trends in Immigration and Economic Consequences," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 284, OECD Publishing.
  2. Gero Carletto & Benjamin Davis & Marco Stampini & Stefano Trento & Alberto Zezza, 2004. "Internal Mobility and International Migration in Albania," Working Papers 04-13, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
  3. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J. Edward & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1988. "Migration, remittances and inequality : A sensitivity analysis using the extended Gini index," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 309-322, May.
  4. Peter Sanfey & Harry Papapanagos, 2001. "Intention to emigrate in transition countries: the case of Albania," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 491-504.
  5. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Stark, Oded, 1987. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Bulletins 7515, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  6. Paul Winters & Alain de Janvry & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2001. "Family and Community Networks in Mexico-U.S. Migration," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 159-184.
  7. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J Edward & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1986. "Remittances and Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(383), pages 722-40, September.
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