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Fertility, Migration, and Altruism

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  • Eli Berman
  • Zaur Rzakhanov

Abstract

Consider migration to a higher income region as a human capital investment in which parents bear migration costs and children share returns. Migrants from a population with heterogeneous intergenerational discount rates will be self-selected on intergenerational altruism. Thus, immigrants may be self-selected on fertility. Soviet Jews who migrate to Israel despite high migration costs have significantly more children than members of the same birth cohort who migrate later when costs are low. We distinguish selection from treatment effects using a comparison group of women who migrate after childbearing age. We also find that immigrants favor bequests more and spend more time with their grandchildren in the U.S. Health and Retirement Survey. Selection on altruism can explain why historically immigrant-absorbing countries like the U.S. have higher fertility than other countries at comparable income levels. It provides an alternative explanation for Chiswick's classic earnings-overtaking result. Selection on altruism also implies that immigrant-absorbing regions will grow faster, or have higher per capita income, or both.

Suggested Citation

  • Eli Berman & Zaur Rzakhanov, 2000. "Fertility, Migration, and Altruism," NBER Working Papers 7545, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7545
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    1. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    2. Friedberg, Rachel M, 2000. "You Can't Take It with You? Immigrant Assimilation and the Portability of Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 221-251, April.
    3. Altonji, Joseph G & Hayashi, Fumio & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1992. "Is the Extended Family Altruistically Linked? Direct Tests Using Micro Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1177-1198, December.
    4. Barro, Robert J & Becker, Gary S, 1989. "Fertility Choice in a Model of Economic Growth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 481-501, March.
    5. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
    6. Eli Berman, 2000. "Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 905-953.
    7. Francine D. Blau, 1992. "The Fertility of Immigrant Women: Evidence from High-Fertility Source Countries," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 93-134 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 1995. "Population Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262181606, November.
    9. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352-352.
    10. Tcha, Moonjoong, 1996. "Altruism and Migration: Evidence from Korea and the United States," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(4), pages 859-878, July.
    11. LaLonde, Robert J & Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Immigrants in the American Labor Market: Quality, Assimilation, and Distributional Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 297-302, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yashiv, Eran, 2004. "The self selection of migrant workers revisited," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19933, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Abdurrahman Aydemir & Wen-Hao Chen & Miles Corak, 2013. "Intergenerational Education Mobility among the Children of Canadian Immigrants," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(s1), pages 107-122, May.
    3. Yashiv, Eran, 2003. "Self-Selection of Migrant Workers: Migration Premium and (no) Returns to Skills," CEPR Discussion Papers 4156, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Leers, Theo & Meijdam, Lex & Verbon, Harrie A. A., 2004. "Ageing, migration and endogenous public pensions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 131-159, January.
    5. repec:bla:jecrev:v:68:y:2017:i:3:p:333-351 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Emmanuel Thibault, 2017. "Is GDP a Relevant Social Welfare Indicator? A Savers–Spenders Theory Approach," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 68(3), pages 333-351, September.
    7. Leers, T., 2001. "Public pensions and population ageing : An economic analysis of fertility, migration and social-security policy," Other publications TiSEM 0c2c876f-d263-4d1e-b820-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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