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Unemployment Benefits, Risk Aversion, and Migration Incentives

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  • Heitmueller, Axel

    () (Imperial College London)

Abstract

With reference to the EU enlargement, a framework is derived which allows the study of the effect of unemployment benefits on the migration decision. While benefits simply increase the expected gain for risk neutral individuals, they work as an insurance device for risk averse migrants; the results for the two groups might differ. Thus, the migration decision is reformulated as monetary lottery and a utility function exhibiting constant relative risk aversion is applied. The model suggests increased migration incentives independent of taste and a positive selection of risk neutral individuals. Furthermore, risk averse migrants are likely to be found in countries with more evenly distributed incomes, other things equal. While the calibration of the model shows a significant change in migration incentives, empirical results on aggregate data for South-North migration within the EU are rather ambiguous.

Suggested Citation

  • Heitmueller, Axel, 2002. "Unemployment Benefits, Risk Aversion, and Migration Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 610, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp610
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ricahrd E. Baldwin & Joseph F. Francois & Richard Portes, 1997. "The costs and benefits of eastern enlargement: the impact on the EU and central Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 12(24), pages 125-176, April.
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    3. Fertig, Michael & Schmidt, Christoph M, 2001. "First- and Second-Generation Migrants in Germany - What Do We Know and What Do People Think," CEPR Discussion Papers 2803, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    6. Ralph Rotte & Michael Vogler, 2000. "The effects of development on migration: Theoretical issues and new empirical evidence," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 13(3), pages 485-508.
    7. Donkers, Bas & Melenberg, Bertrand & Van Soest, Arthur, 2001. "Estimating Risk Attitudes Using Lotteries: A Large Sample Approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 165-195, March.
    8. Fertig, Michael & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2000. "Aggregate-Level Migration Studies as a Tool for Forecasting Future Migration Streams," IZA Discussion Papers 183, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Levy, Mildred B & Wadycki, Walter J, 1973. "The Influence of Family and Friends on Geographic Labor Mobility: An International Comparison," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 55(2), pages 198-203, May.
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    12. Bauer, Thomas K. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 1999. "Assessment of Possible Migration Pressure and its Labour Market Impact Following EU Enlargement to Central and Eastern Europe," IZA Research Reports 3, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    welfare benefits; migration; risk aversion; fixed effects;

    JEL classification:

    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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