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The International Mobility of Billionaires

Relying on Forbes Magazine annual rankings for two decades, 1625 billionaires and their countries of birth and residence are identified, most of whom are self-made entrepreneurs. 13 percent of billionaires reside in a country other than that of their birth. Migration is linked to distance, to cultural ties and to the per capita income of the respective source and host country. Capital taxes have a statistically significant though economically modest effect. 80 percent of those who moved migrated from a lower per capita income to a higher per capita income country and 70 percent from a higher tax country to a lower tax country. Self-made billionaires are more likely to move to countries with larger market sizes. Overall surprisingly few billionaire entrepreneurs migrate. Previous research has found that self-employed tend to work in their home community at higher rates than employees. Entrepreneurship too appears to be local, with private equity be characterized by a home bias. One explanation may be the wide dispersion and local nature of information as emphasized by Hayek.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 904.

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Length: 9 pages
Date of creation: 06 Mar 2012
Date of revision: 02 Dec 2014
Publication status: Published as Sanandaji, Tino, 'The International Mobility of Billionaires' in Small Business Economics, 2014, pages 329-338.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0904
Contact details of provider: Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
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  1. Kathleen Day & Stanley Winer, 2006. "Policy-induced internal migration: An empirical investigation of the Canadian case," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 13(5), pages 535-564, September.
  2. Claudio Michelacci & Olmo Silva, 2005. "Why So Many Local Entrepreneurs?," Working Papers wp2005_0506, CEMFI.
  3. Jon Bakija & Joel Slemrod, 2004. "Do the Rich Flee from High State Taxes? Evidence from Federal Estate Tax Returns," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-12, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  4. Thomas Liebig & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2006. "The influence of taxes on migration: evidence from Switzerland," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(2), pages 235-252, March.
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