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The Effect of Income and Immigration Policies on International Migration

  • Francesc Ortega
  • Giovanni Peri

This paper makes two contributions to the literature on the determinants of international migration flows. First, we compile a new dataset on annual bilateral migration flows covering 15 OECD destination countries and 120 sending countries for the period 1980-2006. We also collect data on time-varying immigration policies that regulate the entry of immigrants in our destination countries over this period. Second, we extend the empirical model of migration choice across multiple destinations developed by Grogger and Hanson (2011) by allowing for unobserved individual heterogeneity between migrants and non-migrants. Our estimates show that international migration flows are highly responsive to income per capita at destination. This elasticity is twice as high for within-EU migration, reflecting the higher degree of labor mobility within the European Union. We also find that tightening of laws regulating immigrant entry reduce rapidly and significantly their flow.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18322.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as “The Effect of Income and Immigration Policies on International Migrations” (with Francesc Ortega) Migration Studies, Vol. 1 Issue 1, March 2013, Oxford University Press.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18322
Note: ITI LS
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  1. Simone BERTOLI & J. FERNANDES-HUERTAS MORAGA, 2013. "Multilateral resistance to migration," Post-Print halshs-00820169, HAL.
  2. David Karemera & Victor Iwuagwu Oguledo & Bobby Davis, 2000. "A gravity model analysis of international migration to North America," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(13), pages 1745-1755.
  3. Graziella Bertocchi & Chiara Strozzi, 2007. "The Evolution of Citizenship: Economic and Institutional Determinants," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 009, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  4. Anna Maria Mayda (Georgetown University), 2005. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes towards Immigrants," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-10, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Francesc Ortega & Giovanni Peri, 2012. "The Effect of Trade and Migration on Income," NBER Working Papers 18193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hatton, Timothy J., 2010. "The Cliometrics of International Migration: A Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 4900, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry & Ries, John, 2010. "The erosion of colonial trade linkages after independence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 1-14, May.
  8. Facchini, Giovanni & Mayda, Anna Maria & Mishra, Prachi, 2011. "Do interest groups affect US immigration policy?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 114-128, September.
  9. Rubinstein, Yona & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," Scholarly Articles 3228230, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Benhabib, Jess, 1996. "On the political economy of immigration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1737-1743, December.
  11. Bertoli, S. & Fernández-Huertas Moraga, J. & Ortega, F., 2013. "Crossing the border: Self-selection, earnings and individual migration decisions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 75-91.
  12. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
  13. di Giovanni, Julian & Levchenko, Andrei A. & Ortega, Francesc, 2014. "A Global View of Cross-Border Migration," CEPR Discussion Papers 9919, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Francesc Ortega & Giovanni Peri, 2009. "The Causes and Effects of International Migrations: Evidence from OECD Countries 1980-2005," Working Papers 96, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  15. Joan Llull, 2013. "Understanding International Migration: Evidence from a New Dataset of Bilateral Stocks (1960-2000)," Working Papers 715, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  16. Susana Iranzo & Giovanni Peri, 2009. "Migration and Trade: Theory with an Application to the Eastern-Western European Integration," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0905, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  17. McKenzie, David & Theoharides, Caroline & Yang, Dean, 2012. "Distortions in the International Migrant Labor Market: Evidence from Filipino Migration and Wage Responses to Destination Country Economic Shocks," IZA Discussion Papers 6498, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Graziella Bertocchi & Chiara Strozzi, 2008. "International Migration and the Role of Institutions," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 012, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  19. Simone Bertoli & Jesus Fernandez-Huertas Moraga & Francesc Ortega, 2010. "Immigration Policies and the Ecuadorian Exodus," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1001, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  20. Grogger, Jeffrey & Hanson, Gordon H., 2011. "Income maximization and the selection and sorting of international migrants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 42-57, May.
  21. Facchini, Giovanni & Steinhardt, Max Friedrich, 2011. "What drives U.S. immigration policy? Evidence from congressional roll call votes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 734-743.
  22. Jim Dolmas & Gregory W. Huffman, 2004. "On The Political Economy Of Immigration And Income Redistribution," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1129-1168, November.
  23. Ortega, Francesc & Polavieja, Javier G., 2012. "Labor-market exposure as a determinant of attitudes toward immigration," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 298-311.
  24. Alicia Adsera & Mariola Pytlikova, 2012. "The role of language in shaping international migration," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2012014, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  25. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
  26. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
  27. Pilar García Gómez & Guillem López, 2003. "Hypothesis on immigration and welfare," Economics Working Papers 905, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2005.
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