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The Causes and Effects of International Labor Mobility: Evidence from OECD Countries 1980-2005

  • Ortega, Francesc
  • Peri, Giovanni

This paper contains three important contributions to the literature on international migrations. First, it compiles a new dataset on migration flows and stocks and on immigration laws for 14 OECD destination countries and 74 sending countries for each year over the period 1980-2005. Second, it extends the empirical model of migration choice across multiple destinations, developed by Grogger and Hanson (2008), by allowing for unobserved individual heterogeneity between migrants and non-migrants. We use the model to derive a pseudo-gravity empirical specification of the economic and legal determinants of international migration. Our estimates show that bilateral migration flows are increasing in the income per capita gap between origin and destination. We also find that bilateral flows decrease significantly when the destination countries adopt stricter immigration laws. Third, we estimate the impact of immigration flows on employment, investment and productivity in the receiving OECD countries using as instruments the ”push” factors only in the gravity equation. We find that immigration increases employment one for one, implying no crowding-out of natives. In addition, investment responds rapidly and vigorously, and total factor productivity is not affected. These results imply that immigration increases the total GDP of the receiving country in the short-run one-for-one, without affecting average wages or labor productivity. We also find that the effects of immigration are less beneficial when the receiving economy is in bad economic times.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 19183.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:19183
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  1. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  2. 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".
  3. Ortega, Francesc, 2005. "Immigration quotas and skill upgrading," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1841-1863, September.
  4. Bertocchi, Graziella & Strozzi, Chiara, 2007. "The Evolution of Citizenship: Economic and Institutional Determinants," CEPR Discussion Papers 6066, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374.
  6. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2008. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0802, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  7. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Anna Mayda, 2010. "International migration: a panel data analysis of the determinants of bilateral flows," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(4), pages 1249-1274, September.
  9. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2000. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 485, Boston College Department of Economics.
  10. Ortega Francesc, 2010. "Immigration, Citizenship, and the Size of Government," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-40, March.
  11. Marco Manacorda & Alan Manning & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2006. "The impact of immigration on the structure of male wages: theory and evidence from Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19797, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
  13. George J. Borjas & Lawrence F. Katz, 2007. "The Evolution of the Mexican-Born Workforce in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 13-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 9755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. Fabian Lange & Douglas Gollin, 2009. "Equipping Immigrants: Migration Flows and Capital Movements," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0914, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  17. Gianmarco I P Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2008. "Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the Theory and the Empirics," Working Papers 2008.77, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  18. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 441-487.
  19. Douglas Gollin, 2001. "Getting Income Shares Right," Department of Economics Working Papers 2001-11, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  20. James Dolmas & Gregory W. Huffman, 1997. "On the political economy of immigration," Working Papers 9706, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  21. Alwyn Young, 1995. "The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 641-680.
  22. Facchini, Giovanni & Mayda, Anna Maria & Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Do Interest Groups Affect Immigration?," IZA Discussion Papers 3183, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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