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Return Migration: an Empirical Investigation

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  • Zakharenko, Roman

Abstract

Many people emigrating abroad eventually return home. Yet, little is known about the returnees: who are they and how do they compare to those who did not return? How does their decision to return depend on economic situation at home? In this paper, I empirically analyze the propensity of US immigrants to return. To identify return migration, I use the method adopted from Van Hook et.al. (2006). The method is based the U.S. Current Population Survey (CPS) which interviews households for two consecutive years. About a quarter of foreign-born individuals drop out of the sample between the first and the second years, due to various causes including return migration. After eliminating all other causes of dropout, I estimate the propensity of immigrants to return, depending on personal and home country characteristics. I find that the difference between recent immigrants and other immigrants is greater than the difference between men and women, or skilled and unskilled migrants. Thus, assimilation differentiates immigrants more in their decision to return than education or gender. In particular, distance to home country negatively affects return propensity of those who arrived over 10 years ago, and has no effect on recent immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Zakharenko, Roman, 2008. "Return Migration: an Empirical Investigation," MPRA Paper 13755, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jan 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:13755
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bellemare, Charles, 2007. "A life-cycle model of outmigration and economic assimilation of immigrants in Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 553-576, April.
    2. Dean Yang, 2006. "Why Do Migrants Return to Poor Countries? Evidence from Philippine Migrants' Responses to Exchange Rate Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 715-735, November.
    3. 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.
    4. Commander, Simon & Kangasniemi, Mari & Winters, L. Alan, 2003. "The Brain Drain: Curse or Boon?," IZA Discussion Papers 809, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Oded Stark, 1991. "The Migration of Labor," Blackwell Books, Wiley Blackwell, number 1557860300, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Dustmann, 2014. "Selective Outmigration and the Estimation of Immigrants Earnings Profiles," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1402, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Gemma Larramona, 2011. "Determinants of return migration in Spain in its new role as a receiving country," ERSA conference papers ersa11p1082, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Jackline Wahba, 2014. "Return migration and economic development," Chapters, in: Robert E.B. Lucas (ed.), International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development, chapter 12, pages 327-349, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2014. "A Nation of Immigrants: Assimilation and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(3), pages 467-506.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    return migration; panel attrition; assimilation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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