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Comfort and Conformity: A Culture-based Theory of Migration

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  • Ruxanda Berlinschi
  • Jan Fidrmuc

Abstract

This paper proposes a theory of migration decisions in which cultural traits play a role. Individuals are assumed to value comfort (high wages) and conformity (interactions with individuals who share similar world views). Regions are assumed to differ economically (average wages) and culturally (average world views and their diversity). The model shows that self-selection of inter-regional migrants on world views is non-monotonic if one region is more diverse than the other, and it weakens with economic gaps between regions. This nonmonoticity can lead to a dichotomy of outcomes: culturally diverse regions become even more diverse because of migration, while culturally homogeneous regions become even more homogeneous. Consequently, Tieboutian sorting (people moving to the region in which world views are closer to theirs) only holds when regions have similar wages and diversity of world views.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruxanda Berlinschi & Jan Fidrmuc, 2018. "Comfort and Conformity: A Culture-based Theory of Migration," LICOS Discussion Papers 40518, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  • Handle: RePEc:lic:licosd:40518
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Migration; self-selection; culture; diversity;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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