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Migration Outflows and Optimal Migration Policy: Rules versus Discretion

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  • Ismaël ISSIFOU

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Abstract

We study the effects of more open borders on return migration and show that migrants are more likely to return to the origin country when migration rules are softer, because this implies that they could more easily re-migrate if return migration is unsuccessful. As a result, softening migration rules leads to lower net in ows than generally acknowledged. We show that if government follows rules to shape the optimal migration policy, it will chose more open borders than in the case its behavior is discretionary. However, this requires an appropriate commitment technology. We show that electoral accountability may be a solution of the commitment problem. As a matter of fact, observed softer immigration rules in western countries suggest the effectiveness of such a mechanism.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ismaël ISSIFOU, 2015. "Migration Outflows and Optimal Migration Policy: Rules versus Discretion," LEO Working Papers / DR LEO 2162, Orleans Economics Laboratory / Laboratoire d'Economie d'Orleans (LEO), University of Orleans.
  • Handle: RePEc:leo:wpaper:2162
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bertoli, Simone & Fernández-Huertas Moraga, Jesús, 2013. "Multilateral resistance to migration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 79-100.
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    5. Dustmann, Christian, 2003. "Return migration, wage differentials, and the optimal migration duration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 353-369, April.
    6. Manon Domingues Dos Santos & François-Charles Wolff, 2010. "Pourquoi les immigrés portugais veulent-ils tant retourner au pays ?," Economie & Prévision, La Documentation Française, vol. 0(4), pages 1-14.
    7. Christian Dustmann & Joseph-Simon Görlach, 2014. "Selective Outmigration and the Estimation of Immigrants' Earnings Profiles," CESifo Working Paper Series 4617, CESifo.
    8. Borjas, George J & Bratsberg, Bernt, 1996. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-176, February.
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    12. Christian Dustmann & Yoram Weiss, 2007. "Return Migration: Theory and Empirical Evidence," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0702, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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