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The Determination of a Migration Wave Using Ethnicity and Community Ties


  • Locher, Lilo

    () (Federal Monopoly Commission, Bonn)


If people come to live in a country different from their nation state, due to border shifts, expulsion, or migration, they adopt some of the new country’s habits after some time. This paper investigates their (return) migration decision when they have been restricted to live in the foreign country for some time and suddenly become free to return to the country of their original nationality. In our model, the population is located in small communities on a Hotelling line. The two poles represent the two nationalities. Utility depends on distance to the pole and to the center of the community someone is living in. Looking at ethnic German migration in the 1990s, we compare basic features of the migration wave with assumptions of the model, compare actual and predicted migration waves and discuss the impact of immigration restrictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Locher, Lilo, 2001. "The Determination of a Migration Wave Using Ethnicity and Community Ties," IZA Discussion Papers 346, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp346

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-1056.
    2. Michael C. Burda & Wolfgang Härdle & Marlene Müller & Axel Werwatz, 1998. "Semiparametric analysis of German East-West migration intentions: facts and theory," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(5), pages 525-541.
    3. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gerard & Spolaore, Enrico, 1996. "Economic theories of the break-up and integration of nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 697-705, April.
    4. Burda, Michael C., 1993. "The determinants of East-West German migration: Some first results," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 452-461, April.
    5. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-390, June.
    6. Bauer, Thomas & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 1997. "Unemployment and wages of ethnic Germans," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(Supplemen), pages 361-377.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lilo Locher, 2010. "Testing for the Option Value of Migration," Working Papers id:2763, eSocialSciences.
    2. Locher, Lilo, 2001. "Testing for the Option Value of Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 405, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    ethnic Germans; Migration decision; migration networks; Hotelling model;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H79 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Other
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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