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Migration and Development: Dissecting the Anatomy of the Mobility Transition

Listed author(s):
  • Dao, Thu Hien

    ()

    (IRES, Université catholique de Louvain)

  • Docquier, Frédéric

    ()

    (Université catholique de Louvain)

  • Parsons, Christopher

    ()

    (University of Western Australia)

  • Peri, Giovanni

    ()

    (University of California, Davis)

Emigration first increases before decreasing with economic development. This bell-shaped relationship between emigration and development was first hypothesized by the theory of the mobility transition (Zelinsky, 1971). Although several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the upward segment of the curve (the most common being the existence of financial constraints), they have not been examined in a systematic way. In this paper, we develop a novel migration accounting methodology and use it to quantify the main drivers of the mobility transition curve. Our analysis distinguishes between migration aspirations and realization rates of college-educated and less educated individuals at the bilateral level. Between one-third and one-half of the slope of the increasing segment is due to the changing skill composition of working-age populations, and another third is due to changing network size. The microeconomic channel (including financial incentives and constraints) only accounts for one fourth of the total effect in low-income countries, and for less than one fifth in lower-middle-income countries. Finally, our methodology sheds light on the microfoundations of migration decisions.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10272.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2016
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10272
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  1. Artucm Erhan & Docquier, Frederic & Ozden, Caglar & Parsons, Christopher, 2014. "A global assessment of human capital mobility: the role of non-OECD destinations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6863, The World Bank.
  2. Michel Beine & Frédéric Docquier & Caglar Ozden, 2010. "Diaspora effects in international migration: key questions and methodological issues," CREA Discussion Paper Series 10-14, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
  3. Matías COVARRUBIAS & Jeanne LAFORTUNE & José TESSADA, 2015. "Who Comes and Why ? Determinants of Immigrants Skill Level in the Early XXth Century US," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 115-155, March.
  4. Joao Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2005. "The Log of Gravity," CEP Discussion Papers dp0701, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Oded Stark & J. Taylor, 1989. "Relative deprivation and international migration oded stark," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 26(1), pages 1-14, February.
  6. Christian Dustmann & Anna Okatenko, 2013. "Out-migration, Wealth Constraints, and the Quality of Local Amenities," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1313, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  7. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2015. "Ancestry, Language and Culture," CEPR Discussion Papers 10644, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Bertoli, Simone & Ruyssen, Ilse, 2016. "Networks and Migrants' Intended Destination," IZA Discussion Papers 10213, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J. Edward, 1990. "Migration Incentives, Migration Types: The Role Of Relative Deprivation," Working Papers 225854, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  10. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2006. "The World Distribution of Income: Falling Poverty and … Convergence, Period," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 351-397.
  11. Frédéric DOCQUIER & Joël MACHADO & Khalid SEKKAT, 2012. "Efficiency gains from liberalizing labor mobility," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2012023, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  12. Frédéric Docquier & Giovanni Peri & Ilse Ruyssen, 2014. "The Cross-country Determinants of Potential and Actual Migration," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48, pages 37-99, 09.
  13. Cansin Arslan & Jean-Christophe Dumont & Zovanga Kone & Yasser Moullan & Caglar Ozden & Christopher Parsons & Theodora Xenogiani, 2015. "A New Profile of Migrants in the Aftermath of the Recent Economic Crisis," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 160, OECD Publishing.
  14. J. M. C. Santos Silva & Silvana Tenreyro, 2009. "Further Simulation Evidence on the Performance of the Poisson Pseudo-Maximum Likelihood Estimator," CEP Discussion Papers dp0933, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  15. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2009. "Estimating the effects of free trade agreements on international trade flows using matching econometrics," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 63-76, February.
  16. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1998. "The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195116519.
  17. Ronald Lee, 2003. "The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 167-190, Fall.
  18. Charles I. Jones, 2015. "The Facts of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 21142, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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