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Immigration, remittances and business cycles

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  • Federico S. Mandelman
  • Andrei Zlate

Abstract

We use data on border enforcement and macroeconomic indicators from the U.S. and Mexico to estimate a two-country business cycle model of labor migration and remittances. The model matches the cyclical dynamics of labor migration to the U.S. and documents how remittances to Mexico serve an insurance role to smooth consumption across the border. During expansions in the destination economy, immigration increases with the expected stream of future wage gains, but it is dampened by a sunk migration cost that reflects the intensity of border enforcement. During recessions, established migrants are deterred from returning to their country of origin, which places an additional downward pressure on the wage of native unskilled workers. Thus, migration barriers reduce the ability of the stock of immigrant labor to adjust during the cycle, enhancing the volatility of unskilled wages and remittances. We quantify the welfare implications of various immigration policies for the destination economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Federico S. Mandelman & Andrei Zlate, 2010. "Immigration, remittances and business cycles," International Finance Discussion Papers 998, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:998
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicole B. Simpson & Chad Sparber, 2013. "The Short- and Long-Run Determinants of Less-Educated Immigrant Flows into U.S. States," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 414-438, October.
    2. Simpson, Nicole B. & Sparber, Chad, 2012. "The Short- and Long-Run Determinants of Less-Educated Immigration into U.S. States," IZA Discussion Papers 6437, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Baas, Timo & Melzer, Silvia, 2016. "The Macroeconomic Impact of Remittances: A Sending Country Perspective," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145631, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Mandelman, Federico S., 2016. "Labor market polarization and international macroeconomic dynamics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 1-16.
    5. Simpson, Nicole & Sparber, Chad, 2010. "The Short-and Long-Run Determinants of Unskilled Immigration into US States," Working Papers 2010-06, Department of Economics, Colgate University.
    6. Peter Claeys & Luis Costa, 2012. "“A Note on the Relationship Between the Cyclicality of Markups and Fiscal Policy”," AQR Working Papers 201208, University of Barcelona, Regional Quantitative Analysis Group, revised Sep 2012.
    7. Pfammatter, Andrea Corina, 2015. "Do differences in international labor mobility lead to differences in the fiscal multiplier? A theoretical approach," MPRA Paper 68955, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Fabio Ghironi, 2017. "Macro Needs Micro," NBER Working Papers 23836, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. repec:eee:jmacro:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:147-174 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Daniela Hauser, 2014. "Technology Shocks, Labour Mobility and Aggregate Fluctuations," Staff Working Papers 14-4, Bank of Canada.
    11. Ahmed, Junaid & Martinez-Zarzoso, Inmaculada, 2013. "Blessing or curse: The stabilizing role of remittances, foreign aid and FDI to Pakistan," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 153, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    12. Khraiche, Maroula, 2015. "A Macroeconomic Analysis Of Guest Worker Permits," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(01), pages 189-220, January.
    13. Andrei Zlate & Federico Mandelman, 2013. "Offshoring, Low-skilled Immigration and Labor Market Polarization," 2013 Meeting Papers 1073, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. repec:eee:ecmode:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:141-152 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Sauré, Philip, 2017. "Time-intensive R&D and unbalanced trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 229-244.
    16. Ibrahim Sirkeci & Jeffrey H. Cohen & Dilip Ratha, 2012. "Migration and Remittances during the Global Financial Crisis and Beyond," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13092.
    17. Finkelstein Shapiro, Alan & Mandelman, Federico S., 2016. "Remittances, entrepreneurship, and employment dynamics over the business cycle," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, pages 184-199.
    18. Maroula Khraiche, 2009. "Trade, Firm Structure, and Migration of Talent," Working papers 2009-35, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    19. Alexis Antoniades & Ganesh Seshan & Roberto A. Weber & Robertas Zubrickas, 2013. "On altruism and remittances," ECON - Working Papers 131, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    20. Garcia, Pablo M & Rodriguez-Montemayor, Eduardo, 2010. "A primer of international migration: The Latin American experience and a proposal for a research agenda," MPRA Paper 24147, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Clemens, Marius, 2016. "Migration, Unemployment and the Business Cycle - A Euro Area Perspective," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145578, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    Keywords

    Emigrant remittances ; Emigration and immigration;

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